Pennsauken, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) July 02, 2019 – More than fifty employees at an Amazon fulfillment center in Robbinsville, New Jersey, were injured when an automated robot punctured a can of bear repellant spray. Twenty-four of those who were hurt were hospitalized and one woman was critically injured.
The incident occurred on the third floor of the sprawling Amazon facility, which measures 1.3 million square feet. Hundreds of people work at the warehouse during a normal shift. When the spray, which contained a concentrated form of capsaicin, the substance that gives hot chili peppers their spice, was punctured its fumes went into the air and caused varying degrees of damage to the people who were near the area.
The reported injuries were widespread and included burning in the throats, eyes and noses of the affected workers. Some had difficulty breathing. All of the severely injured employees were taken to and released from the hospital. Others were treated at the scene.
The incident raises a number of controversial issues. Amazon has been heavily criticized in the past for the working conditions at its facilities and its labor practices. Also, because a robot caused the bear repellant to discharge into the air, the issue of an automated workforce replacing human workers and what the consequences of this could be come into question. As companies like Amazon guarantee increasingly fast service an automated work force is quickly becoming a reality at many businesses.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating. A statement from Amazon given on the day of the incident said:“The safety of our employees is always our top priority and a full investigation is already underway. We’d like to thank all of the first responders who helped with today’s incident.”
Attorney Scott M. Goldberg, senior litigator at Petrillo and Goldberg Law, adds, “As the demands companies like Amazon place on their workers increase and automation becomes more common, we need to be very mindful of the human cost.”
Injured at work? Please contact the attorneys at Petrillo and Goldberg.
Petrillo & Goldberg Law
6951 North Park Drive
Pennsauken, NJ 08109
19 South 21st Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
70 South Broad Street
Woodbury, NJ 08096
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