Amazon.com's fulfillment operation itself made the news recently, and the report was less than flattering. A Sept. 17 investigative report in the Allentown, Pa., newspaper The Morning Call detailed possible health and safety violations at the e-commerce giant's Lehigh Valley warehouses. In the lengthy article "Inside Amazon's Warehouse," reporter Spencer Soper documented complaints by warehouse associates about working conditions. In all, Soper interviewed 20 current and former employees, some who described brutal heat and inadequate ventilation as well as productivity demands they could rarely meet.
According to the article, an emergency room doctor called federal regulators in June after treating several Amazon warehouse workers for heat-related problems. The article also described Amazon's response to that and similar complaints, including additional safety measures and facility upgrades the company put in place and policy changes regarding performance "demerits" assessed against those who leave because of the heat. The last half of the article discusses difficulties some employees encountered in trying to meet productivity demands they said were impossible to fulfill and which led to their being fired.
The lengthy article can be read here. Companion pieces include correspondence between Amazon and OSHA as well as copies of complaints workers filed with the agency.