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Osha Opens Investigation Following Death Of Six Employees In Amazon Warehouse Collapse

On Friday December 10, 2021, an EF-3 tornado devastated the Midwest, including the community of Edwardsville, Illinois. The Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville was hit by the tornado, causing the sides of the warehouse to collapse and the roof to cave in. Six were killed and one other hospitalized.

The Monday following the deadly event, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) confirmed that it had sent compliance officers to the Amazon warehouse over the weekend. OSHA stated it is investigating the warehouse’s compliance with building codes and other workplace safety and health regulations.

An Amazon spokesperson stated that the facility was constructed to code, and the six that died were in the south side of the building, while other workers had sought shelter in the north side of the building. The Amazon warehouse is 1.1 million square feet, and workers only had minutes to take shelter. While the Amazon spokesperson stated the warehouse was compliant with building codes, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker stated he was speaking with state lawmakers regarding updating the state’s building codes.

OSHA will have six months to complete its investigation, and Amazon could face monetary penalties if OSHA discovers violations. Amazon is also likely to face private civil lawsuits.