Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
Economy | By

Federal agency probing accident that sickened Amazon workers

Federal agency probing accident that sickened Amazon workers

Twenty-four Amazon workers have been hospitalised after a bear spray can was punctured at a warehouse in New Jersey in the U.S. on Wednesday. One is in critical condition while another 30 were treated at the scene.

After an initial investigation by police, it was determined that "an automated machine accidentally punctured a 9-ounce bear repellent can, releasing concentrated Capsaicn", Robbinsville Township communications and public information officer John Nalbone told ABC.

Self-defense blogs seem to agree that bear spray is less incapacitating than pepper spray made to be used against humans, but it is still quite irritating.

'The safety of our employees is always our top priority and a full investigation is already under way'.

Amazon's workforce now includes 575,700 employees globally as well as 80,000 robots known as "Kiva" which operate in warehouses.

In a statement to ABC News, Amazon stated that employees at the fulfillment center were temporarily relocated while the area was secured by first responders. Approximately twenty-four of those workers were taken to five local hospitals for additional treatment. Amazon assured media that all workers would be discharged from the hospitals within 24 hours.

Rachael Lighty, a spokeswoman for Amazon, claimed in a statement to the Washington Post that "the safety of our employees is our top priority". Nalbone said that no danger was imposed on the surrounding communities as the fumes dissipated.

"This is another outrageous example of the company putting profits over the health and safety of their workers, and we can not stand for this".

The Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, however, accused Amazon of repeatedly "putting hard working people's lives at risk".

'The richest company in the world can not continue to be let off the hook for putting hard working people's lives at risk. Amazon workers are not unionized, but species solidarity supersedes union ties.

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, a worker advocacy group, called for reforms to ensure employee safety.

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