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Amazon's Spokane Fulfillment Center fined for labor violations

Packages move down a conveyor system to the proper shipping area at the new Amazon Fulfillment Center in Sacramento, Calif., on Feb. 9. Amazon's profits, announced on Thursday, roughly tripled what analysts had been expecting.
Rich Pedroncelli
/
AP
Packages move down a conveyor system to the proper shipping area at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Sacramento, Calif.,

The Washington state Department of Labor and Industries has fined Amazon more than $80,000 for violations at the company’s Spokane Fulfillment Center.

L&I inspectors found that workers inside Spokane’s Amazon fulfillment center are required to do repetitive motions, lifting, and other physical, fast-paced work that puts them at risk of developing Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders. It also said weren’t trained, or provided with adequate protection against noise and could suffer hearing loss.

The agency said in a news release that this violation is considered willful and carries a higher penalty because of violations at three other locations across the state. L&I has ordered Amazon to pay $85,800.

Spokane’s Amazon Fulfillment Center employs about twenty-four-hundred workers. Since it opened three years ago, more than 400 workers have filed worker’s compensation claims for work related Musculoskeletal Disorders.

According to L&I, Spokane’s fulfillment center has a higher injury rate than any other Amazon facility in the state.

In a statement, Amazon spokesperson Maureen Lynch Vogel said the company disagreed with the allegations, especially that they were willful, calling that portion of the complaint categorically false.

“We look forward to a full and fair hearing on the citations we’ve already challenged, because the fact is, we’re making measurable progress and have improved recordable incident rates in the U.S. by 23% since 2019,” she said. “We will continue to prioritize the health and safety of all of our employees.”

The company has appealed the citations at other fulfillment centers across the state and plans to appeal the most recent Spokane citation as well.