The Washington state Department of Labor & Industries said this week it has fined Amazon $60,000 for “knowingly putting workers at risk of injury” at a Kent fulfillment center.
L&I ergonomists found that workers were required to perform repetitive, physical work like twisting, lifting, and carrying at “such a fast pace” that it increased the risk of injury, KING-TV reported.
The tasks “have caused, and are likely to continue to cause musculoskeletal disorders of the low back,” according to an L&I inspection.
The infraction was classified as a “willful serious violation” because of three similar violations at two other Amazon fulfillment centers in Washington, according to L&I. Amazon has appealed those alleged findings and citations.
“The company has not yet made necessary changes to improve workplace safety and has consistently denied the association between pace of work and injury rates,” L&I wrote in a statement.
An Amazon representative said L&I’s latest report is not accurate and the company also plans to appeal that citation.
“We strongly disagree with L&I’s claims and don’t believe they are supported by the facts,” Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said.
In all three of the previous complaints, L&I inspections found a “direct connection” between Amazon’s employee monitoring and discipline systems and workplace musculoskeletal disorders.