Rep. Norcross Presses Assistant Secretary of Labor to Open OSHA Investigation into Amazon Over Skyrocketing Injury Rates
May 25, 2022
Today, U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) questioned Assistant Secretary of Labor Douglas L. Parker at a hearing before the Workforce Protections Subcommittee regarding opening an investigation into Amazon over skyrocketing injury rates at its warehouses.
“In my career which started in construction as an electrician, we always went to work each and every day with the premise we’re going to come home the way we went in: healthy and alive. But unfortunately, three times in my career, I was on a job when someone didn’t come home. They were killed on the job. You will never forget that. That made such a profound difference on the way I view workplace safety,” Congressman Norcross said in his opening remarks.
“If in a state, a company in a that had less than 10% of the workforce had 55% of the injuries, would OSHA think that’s a little bit unusual and look at that as an anomaly that something might be going on?” asked Congressman Norcross at the hearing.
The hearing followed a letter Congressman Norcross sent to Assistant Secretary Parker earlier that morning regarding the same issue. He was joined on the letter by fellow members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation Reps. Bill Pascrell, Frank Pallone, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Mikie Sherrill, Donald M. Payne, Andy Kim, and Tom Malinowski.
“Despite commitments by Jeff Bezos to make Amazon the ‘Earth’s Safest Place to Work,’ reporting suggests that conditions for Amazon workers are worsening and are out of line with industry norms,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.
The letter cites a recent analysis of injury data provided by Amazon to OSHA that shows injury rates in New Jersey are especially high. Between 2020 and 2021, Amazon’s New Jersey warehouses saw a 54% increase in their injury rates. Nationally, Amazon employs 33% of warehouse workers in the US but comprises 49% of all warehouse worker injuries.
“As New Jersey representatives, we remember the Newark Wolf Muslin Undergarment Company fire in 1910 that killed dozens of garment workers just four months before the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911. Since then, our country has made significant gains in worker safety, but it is critical to enforce these laws and build on these gains,” the lawmakers continued.
The letter requests a response from OSHA within 90 days.
Watch Congressman Norcross at the Workforce Protections Subcommittee hearing here.
Read the full letter here.