On the morning of December 27, 2022, at the Amazon DEN4 warehouse in Colorado Springs, Colorado, 61-year-old Rick Jacobs died of a heart attack on the job, just before a shift change. What happened next angered his former colleagues.
Witnesses say a makeshift barrier was used around the deceased worker using a large cardboard box to seal off the area of the shipping dock where the accident occurred, and the workers responded to the incident. and criticized the lack of transparency. Amazon denied the boxes were used to cordon off the area, but said managers stood around to keep everyone out for privacy and security.
When workers arrived for their day shift, they weren’t informed of what was happening, and their deceased colleagues remained at the facility and continued working as normal while emergency responders awaited the arrival of the coroner. Told.
“When I went through it and found out what happened, I felt very uncomfortable with the blatant disregard for human emotions in this establishment. could have been freed [voluntary time off]So they didn’t have to use their time, but no, they didn’t,” said a warehouse Amazon employee who works the day shift. They requested anonymity for fear of retaliation.
“Nobody should have been told to work by the corpse, especially after seeing the corpse. No warning before entering the building, no counselor on site, just a flyer put out a few days later telling people how to get mental health counseling.”
An Amazon spokesperson said in a call that health insurance portability and accountability act (HIPAA) law and privacy concerns for the family of the deceased prevented the company from disclosing details about individuals and incidents. disputed claims that someone was working near the corpse or that the box had been used to cordon off the area. declined to comment on
Amazon did not add comment on what protocols the company had in place for these incidents or what resources were provided to workers in the immediate aftermath or aftermath of the event.
Another worker at an Amazon warehouse said there were police and fire engines in the warehouse when she turned in that morning, but no explanation was given as to why. i know i did
“We were all going about our business as usual, but I was immediately annoyed that there was a human lying dead in the outbound area and I had to ask about it in the break room,” a worker said. said retaliation. “Somebody’s dead downstairs, why are we still going to work? I was angry that they didn’t care about our lives.” .
Employees criticized the lack of transparency and responsiveness from management. This is because no information was provided until a week after the incident. And given the previous deaths of other employees at Amazon’s warehouses, standard operating procedures for such incidents are lacking. .
A week after the incident, the employee said management finally addressed the issue at a Jan. 4 stand-up meeting. They were frustrated with the lack of accountability and accountability from management.
“What fascinates me is the lack of respect for human life. We’re taking a break for maintenance. At least get the body out of the facility and clean up after him before people walk around like nothing happened.” Don’t you think we couldn’t have shut down with a little respect long enough to do that?” said the worker.
“This is not the first time someone has died in an Amazon facility. Amazon is a huge company. There should be a protocol. It doesn’t matter if this is the first death or the 10th death. How do you handle it?” We need a protocol for, while the investigation is ongoing, we may not stagger it, or at least delay it until the bodies are gone.”
Amazon has reported a number of worker deaths in recent years, including three in New Jersey and one in Pennsylvania in the summer of 2022. Amazon faces intense scrutiny over working conditions due to the company’s high injury rate, inappropriate personnel errors, and high employee turnover. .
Another worker at DEN4 said he was supposed to work the day after the incident but took personal leave after hearing what happened from other workers.
“I have refused to work due to circumstances and in honor of the deceased gentleman,” said the worker. “It wasn’t treated fairly at all.”