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Amazon warehouse accident kills temporary worker

Many express concern that companies avoid meeting their obligations regarding safety in the workplace by hiring temporary workers. This is part of the reason that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration began an initiative in April regarding the safety of temporary workers. OSHA representatives are using a recent Amazon warehouse accident as an opportunity to remind employers about this initiative.

It may not surprise anyone in California that during the holiday season, Amazon employs temporary workers to meet the demand of extra packages that go out. Somehow, some equipment that ultimately crushed him trapped one of these temporary workers. No report regarding the details of the accident is available at this time. Both OSHA and Amazon are conducting investigations into the incident.

A firm that has an office in the New Jersey Amazon warehouse where the accident took place hired the temporary worker. According to OSHA, it is the responsibility of both the temporary agency and the employer to follow safety regulations and provide for the safety of temporary workers. Therefore, at least part of the investigation into this accident may focus on what safety training the victim was given, if any.

With nearly three million people working temporary jobs nationwide, including many here in California, the issue of safety is an important one. Temporary workers that do not receive safety training and equipment are at risk of injury or even death as may be the case in this warehouse accident. However, even employers with impeccable safety records have accidents on occasion. When a temporary worker is injured or killed, workers’ compensation benefits are available to defray at least some of the costs associated with medical care, recovery and lost wages.

Source: USA Today, Temporary worker dies at Amazon facility, Alistair Barr, Dec. 20, 2013