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Five companies cited in death of temp worker at Amazon facility in NJ

OSHA Enforcement ActivityAn OSHA investigation into a fatality at an Amazon fulfillment center in Avenel, NJ, has resulted in five companies being cited for serious violations – none of them Amazon.

Temporary worker Ronald Smith died from injuries he sustained on Dec. 4, 2013, after he was caught in between a conveyor system and crushed while performing sorting operations.

Third-party logistics provider Genco, based in Pittsburgh, was contracted by Amazon to direct the temporary employees from four staffing agencies involved in sorting operations. The employees were required to monitor the conveyors and sorting machine to ensure packages were positioned properly while traveling over the conveyor and sorting belts.

Genco was cited for one serious violation for not certifying that a hazard assessment of the facility had been conducted before assigning employees to work.

Temporary staffing agencies Abacus — The Corporate Services Co., Baltimore, which employed Smith; New York-based Corporate Resource Services Inc., doing business as Diamond Staffing Services; Remedy Intelligent Staffing Inc., doing business as a division of Selective Staffing, Santa Barbara, Calif.; and Staffmark, headquartered in Ohio, were each cited by OSHA for one serious violation for failure to perform a hazard assessment of the facility before assigning employees to determine if hazards existed.

"Temporary staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for the safety and health of temporary employees,” said Patricia Jones, director of OSHA's Avenel Area Office.

In April 2013, OSHA announced an initiative to improve workplace safety and health for temporary workers. Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries shows fatal work injuries involving contractor worker fatalities, including temporary help service workers, accounted for 708, or 16 percent, of the 4,383 fatal work injuries in 2012. Additional details are available at http://bls.gov/iif/home.htm.

Genco and the four temporary staffing agencies each face $6,000 in penalties.

 OSHA is currently investigating a separate fatality that occurred on June 1, 2014, at an Amazon Fulfillment Center in Carlisle, Pa. 

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