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Amazon denies hot work conditions in employee deaths, adds fans

After losing a number of employees in a specific NJ warehouse, Amazon adds AC and fans, but denies claims of deplorable work conditions.

Amazon warehouse

With how easy it is to just push a button and wait a couple of days, it’s no surprise that a company like Amazon has astronomical profits. It’s just so convenient to hop online and find that perfect gadget, or piece you need for the dishwasher, or those seven cool new notebooks you totally need ahead of the new school year. 

If you’re like me, you will admit that you sometimes catch yourself browsing deals on the homepage and adding things to your cart just for the thrill of opening it and seeing what you got. Add to this the one-day shipping pledges, buy now options, and promotions such as Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals, and it is easy to get caught up in the hype that ordering through this company brings.

Our society relies heavily on big e-commerce companies, with Amazon being at the top of the list. This makes it easy to forget all of the work that comes with getting the products out of the warehouse and into your hands. In order to keep up, Amazon has created more jobs in the last decade than any other company, according to AboutAmazon. Each fulfillment center can hold about 1,500 people working tirelessly to get orders out, no matter if it’s a holiday, there’s a blizzard, or as has been the case recently, unbearably hot.

Tragically, an Amazon worker lost their life during one such heat wave. On July 12, 2022, a worker died at an Amazon fulfillment center in New Jersey after a sudden cardiac arrest. This was during Prime Day, considered to be Amazon’s biggest sales event each year. The event is still under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, but so far Amazon has denied that the heat had any involvement in this employee’s death. Workers disagree and have voiced that they believe the relentless pace combined with the heat played a factor.

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There have since been two more deaths of employees at Amazon facilities in just the state of New Jersey. More details have not been released at this time, but one of the workers was believed to have suffered fatal injuries. The company has been under fire a great deal lately for what are considered unsafe working conditions, and is currently subject to a probe by OSHA and federal prosecutors for potential safety hazards throughout the country, according to CNBC.

Since that fatal day in July, sources say a new air conditioning system has been installed in the New Jersey facility. There have also been more fans added. This is a step in the right direction and will help workers out at that one location, but is it enough?

There are other facilities dealing with these same working conditions and because they have not received as much media attention, may not receive the same upgrades. How long will it be until tragedy strikes again? It will be interesting to see how Amazon steps up for their employees, those who work so that they can keep profiting and continuing to expand, now that some of their shortcomings have been brought to light. Hopefully, in the wake of these events, we will see some real change soon.

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Allison Snider is a freelance writer and owner of AllieWritesCreatively. She is passionate about raising awareness for chronic illnesses and ending the stigma around mental health. In her free time, you can find Allison hiking with her wife, Sara, and two dogs, Stella and Sophie.

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