Sweltering Amazon Fulfillment
Warehouses Taking Heat

By Joe Waynick

November 25, 2012

Jeff Bezos is planning a multi-million dollar retrofit of certain Amazon fulfillment warehouses to add air conditioning.

It's reported that employees have been seen being carried out on stretchers or in wheelchairs due to heat exhaustion after enduring temperatures as high as 110 degrees.

Recent sales figures show sales for Amazon new and used books up as much as a 41% and employees are taking the heat.

It seems strange that a company that does billions of dollars in sales annually would require workers to toil away in sweltering heat. But that's not exactly uncommon at a few Amazon facilities.

Amazon Backlash

Labor difficulties have been cited at a number of Amazon warehouses around the globe and in some instances legal action has been taken.

An emergency room doctor filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after treating a number of Amazon employees for heat related illnesses.

Individual employees have also anonymously called-in complaints to the OSHA hotline about unsafe working conditions at a Pennsylvania warehouse operated by Amazon.

In response, OSHA launched an investigation of the Amazon fulfillment facility which resulted in the company installing additional fans a making other changes to safeguard employee health.

If you want to know more about OSHA's report and Amazon's response you can check out the detailed story from The Morning Call, a local Pennsylvania newspaper: Amazon Promises To Improve Working Conditions In Warehouses.

Changes Are Coming

Amazon management pledged $52 million at its recent annual meeting for installing air conditioning systems in warehouses that aren't currently being cooled, as well as for other environmental retrofitting of buildings.

Both Amazon and the temporary staffing agencies that employ the workers affected by the adverse working conditions have stated that they take worker safety very seriously. Amazon has investigated the charges and is promising to take the necessary steps to improve the working environment of its facilities.

This is welcomed news to employees who are required to work long hours during the hot summer months, and I believe it really is the best way to sell books online.

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