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24 Amazon workers hospitalised as robot accidentally releases bear repellant

Autonomy splat bear. Also human.

ANOTHER DAY another reported safety breach at an Amazon facility.

This time, twenty four workers at the New Jersey facility were hospitalised by one of the site robots which accidentally collided with a canister of bear repellent spray, showering it on surrounding human workers.

In addition to the 24 victims sent to five local hospitals, a further 30 were treated at the scene, reports ABC News affiliate WABC.

An investigation concluded that “an automated machine accidentally punctured a 9-ounce bear repellent can, releasing concentrated Capsaican,”

For those without a chemistry qualification – that basically means pepper spray.

The unions aren’t happy. Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union President Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement:

“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.

Unions are not recognised by Amazon, but remain vocal in conditions for people working for one of the countries bigger employers.

“The richest company in the world cannot continue to be let off the hook for putting hard working people’s lives at risk. Our union will not back down until Amazon is held accountable for these and so many more dangerous labour practices.”

Amazon said in a statement:

“All of the impacted employees have been or are expected to be released from hospital within the next 24 hours. The safety of our employees is always our top priority and a full investigation is already underway. We’d like to thank all of the first responders who helped with today’s incident,”

It confirmed that the warehouse is both huge, and ventilated, negating any risk to those in the wider area.

Conditions at Amazon warehouses have been a cause of constant scrutiny with two contractors killed in October after a wall collapsed on them during a storm. μ

Source : Inquirer

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