Amazon, the Internet retailer known for bringing Americans goods as varied as books, lawn care supplies and infant accessories, is under scrutiny following two deaths at fulfillment centers, including one in Pennsylvania. One of the deaths raises questions about temporary worker safety in the U.S.
The most recent death happened in Carlisle, Pa., on June 1. According to news reports, a 52-year-old woman suffered fatal traumatic injuries after crashing a pallet truck into some shelves at the facility. Federal regulators are investigating. Days after the fatal accident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced citations issued as the result of a fatal accident at another Amazon fulfillment center seven months earlier.
Temporary workers, contract workers and other contingent workers are a growing part of the nation’s workforce. We have previously written about how contingent workers often have less job security and fewer rights, in some cases including the right to workers’ compensation. Is job safety also an issue that contingent workers face? OSHA believes so, at least for temporary workers like the man who was killed in December.
OSHA says that it’s concerned that employers use temporary workers to avoid meeting their safety compliance regulations and that temporary workers are more vulnerable to workplace safety and health hazards than workers who are traditional employees. It says that fatal work injuries accounted for 16 percent of the 4,383 fatal work injuries in 2012. Temporary worker safety, and the right to workers’ compensation, is an issue that more workers may face as the nation’s workforce transforms.
- Our law firm handles workers’ compensation claims in Philadelphia and other Pennsylvania cities. For more information, visit our page on death claims.