Amazon robot punctures can of bear repellent, hospitalizes 24 workers

Marco Green
December 7, 2018

At least one person was in critical condition and 24 were hospitalized after a robot accidentally punctured a 9oz. aerosol can of bear repellent at an Amazon warehouse in Robbinsville Township, New Jersey on Wednesday, causing dozens of employees to experience trouble breathing. One is in critical condition while another 30 were treated at the scene. In doing so, a concentrated form of Capsaican was released into the air and nearby workers were exposed to it. Capsaican is an active component of chilli peppers and therefore forms a very effective irritant for both bears and humans.

Workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in Robbinsville, N.J., were sickened on Wednesday after an automated machine punctured a can of bear repellent.

All the Amazon employees were covered by employer-provided healthcare, Lighty added. As a precaution, some employees have been transported to local hospitals for evaluation and treatment.

An Amazon spokeswoman told The Register that employee safety was the firm's top priority, and claimed "all of the impacted employees have been or are expected to be released from hospital within the next 24 hours". We'd like to thank all of the first responders who helped with this incident.

The warehouse was evacuated and vented.

"Amazon's automated robots put humans in life-threatening danger today, the effects of which could be catastrophic and the long-term effects for 80 plus workers are unknown", Appelbaum said.

"This is another outrageous example of the company putting profits over the health and safety of their workers, and we can not stand for this". Due to the time of year, you can imagine how busy the warehouse must be trying to fulfill all the extra orders for the holidays, especially with Amazon's 12 Days of Deals promotion now underway.

Earlier this year the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health cited Amazon as one of the most unsafe companies to work for in the USA, pointing to seven deaths since 2013 at its warehouses. The report notes that seven Amazon employees have died on or near the job since 2013.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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