Amazon Made Airport Workers Toil In 100-Degree Heat Without Shade

The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) cited Amazon three times for exposing its workers to dangerously hot conditions at San Bernardino International Airport. The online shopping giant was only fined $14,625 for leaving employees on the airport tarmac with little shade to shelter from the scorching California sun over the summer months. Amazon has repeatedly been criticized for operating harsh workplace facilities.

Amazon ramp workers primarily took shade in the shadow of a Boeing 767-300 parked on the tarmac, unable to sit on the hot pavement. Across July and August last year, there were around 20 days when the recorded high temperature was 100 degrees or more. The hottest day was 108 degrees on July 25, based on data from Weather Underground. The citation also mentions a van, but it wasn’t large enough to fit everyone working on loading and unloading aircraft. According to the Warehouse Workers Resource Center, ramp worker Regina Herrmann explained:

“We saw that Amazon was more concerned with loading and unloading the planes as fast as possible than with our safety. We work out on the tarmac without enough shade and sometimes without enough water. Last summer was scary. It got so hot and we did not always have enough water to drink or time to let our bodies cool down. We sometimes had to crouch or stand under the planes for shade. We knew we had to do something before someone was seriously injured.”

One can only hope that less than $15,000 in fines can nudge a trillion-dollar company into treating its employees with a little decencyMotherboard reports that Amazon intends to appeal the citations. The online retailer stated that cooling measures were already in place and every air hub was air-conditioned. It should be noted that there isn’t air conditioning outdoors on the steaming hot tarmac!

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