State ignored worker death to lure Amazon business, report says

Enlarge / The Amazon logo at the entrance of a logistics center in France, July 2019. (credit: Denis Charlet | AFP | Getty )

Reports of poor and unsafe working conditions within Amazon’s sprawling web of warehouses have been surfacing for years. A new report alleges that not only did conditions in one Indiana warehouse lead to a worker’s death in 2017 but also that state authorities manipulated a report on the matter in a futile attempt to bring Amazon’s much-vaunted “HQ2” to town.

Amazon worker Phillip Lee Terry was crushed and killed in September 2017 while performing maintenance on a forklift at Amazon’s Plainfield, Illinois, fulfillment center, according to a recent report from the Center for Investigative Reporting. While investigating Terry’s death, Indiana regulators found that he had never been given formal safety training that could have prevented the incident.

“The safety issues I’ve brought up have been dismissed and not dealt with,” another worker at the Plainfield facility told the safety inspector from Indiana’s OSHA department. “There’s no training, there’s no safety, it’s ‘Get ‘er done.'” Ultimately, the department issued four citations to Amazon, totaling $28,000 in penalties.

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