Mail Online UK
April 26, 2019
By Luke Kenton
- The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) released its annual “dirty dozen” list on Thursday, listing the U.S.’ most dangerous workplaces.
- Amazon retained its unfavorable place atop the list for the second year running, after the company recorded six worker deaths across a seven month span.
- Others named included McDonald’s and XPO—where six workers reportedly had miscarriages as a result of hot warehouses.
- Facebook was also named for exposing moderators of the website to disturbing content that has led to several post-traumatic stress disorder diagnoses.
- Amazon said the list should be taken with a “giant grain of salt,” as Cosh—a coalition of labor union—benefits from “undermining” their reputation.
Amazon and Facebook have been named among the most dangerous places to work in America, with Jeff Bezos’ company topping the list for the second year in a row.
The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) released its annual “dirty dozen” list on Thursday, naming the employers responsible for operating some of the most dangerous workplaces in America.
Amazon retained its unfavorable place atop the list for the second year running, after the company recorded six worker deaths across a seven month span.
David-Jamel Williams, a former Amazon warehouse picker, told Gizmodo he saw workers “pushed to the brink of exhaustion,” and said those who spoke out about the working environment were “pressured to be quiet.”
Williams claims that while he was working at the e-commerce company, a box of chemicals that was improperly stored in a bin spilled on his face and injured his eyes.
The majority of the 12 listed companies secured their place on the list as a result of workplace injuries, assaults, harassment and fatalities within working hours.
Others named among this year’s “dirty dozen” included McDonald’s, Baltimore’s The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and XPO—where six workers reportedly suffered miscarriages as a result of overheated warehouses.
But in a shock move, named on the list for the first time was Facebook, along with two firms who supply contract labor to the social media giant, Cognizant and Accenture.
Director of COSH, Marcy Golstein-Gelb said the two labor agencies are “co-responsible” alongside Facebook for exposing moderators of the website to disturbing content that has led to post-traumatic stress disorder diagnoses for some of their workers.
According to Goldstein-Gelb, Facebook pipped its competitors Twitter and YouTube for a place on the list because workers of the Zuckerberg-owned site have repeatedly spoken out about the impact seeing such content has had on their mental health.
However, Goldstein-Gelb insists COSH isn’t just a name and shame.
“We don’t just want to hammer at companies. We want to see change,” she said in a press conference on Wednesday.
“We want to shine a light on unsafe practices and motivate employers to do a better job of protecting workers.
“Workers continue to die on the job at tragic levels. Most of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented with well-known basic safety measures.”
Statistics show that work place fatalities have seen a sharp increase since 2012, with 5,147 workers dying on the job from trauma-related causes across the U.S. in 2017 alone.
Goldstein-Gelb praised hardware giant Lowes—who made the list last year—for ceasing to sell paint strippers and other similar products containing methylene chloride.
Amazon however dismissed the seriousness of COSH’s list, insisting it should be taken with a “giant grain of salt.”
COSH’s “dirty dozen”
- 1. Amazon.com Inc., WA.
- 2. Atlantic Capes Fisheries Co., NJ, and the staffing firm it uses, B.J.’s Service Co Inc.
- 3. Bedrock Detroit LLC, MI.
- 4. Beiza Brothers Harvesting LLC, GA.
- 5. Facebook Inc., CA, along with contractors Accenture PLC and Cognizant Technology Solutions.
- 6. Genan Inc, TX.
- 7. Integra Health Management Inc, MD.
- 8. The Johns Hopkins Hospital, MD.
- 9. McDonald’s USA LLC, IL.
- 10. Purdue Pharmaceuticals LP, CT.
- 11. Purdue Pharmaceuticals LP, MI.
- 12. XPO Logistics, CT.
The online retailer believes COSH, as a non-profit coalition of labor unions, has a “business cause to undermine Amazon’s reputation through a clear campaign of misinformation.”
“Safety is our number one priority,” the spokesperson told Business Insurance. “While any serious incident is one too many, we learn and improve our programs to prevent future incidents. Safety training and continuous improvement is something tens of thousands of Amazon associates and partner companies focus on every day.”
A spokesperson for Facebook also told the website that it is dedicated to working with its partners to offer addition support for its content moderators.
“Everyone who reviews content for Facebook goes through an in-depth, multi-week training program on our community standards and has access to extensive support to ensure their well-being and resiliency,” said the spokesperson.
“We are also employing technical solutions to limit exposure to graphic material as much as possible. This is an important issue, and we are committed to getting this right.”
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