'Go Back To Work: Outcry Over Deaths On Amazon's Warehouse Floor’ - Billy Foister Died Last Month After A Heart Attack At Work. The Incident Was Just One In A Series Of Recent Accidents & Fatalities.
The Incident Is Among The ‘Latest In A Series’ Of Accidents & Fatalities That Have Led To Amazon’s Inclusion On The National Council For Occupational Safety And Health’s (NCOSH) 2019 ‘Dirty Dozen List’ Of The Most Dangerous Employers In The U.S.
(ETNA, OHIO) - In September, Billy Foister, a 48-year-old Amazon Warehouse Worker, died after a heart attack at work. According to his brother, an Amazon human resources representative informed him at the hospital that Billy had lain on the floor for 20 minutes before receiving treatment from Amazon’s internal safety responders.
“How can you not see a six-foot-three-inch man laying on the ground and not help him within twenty minutes? A couple of days before, he put the wrong product in the wrong bin and within two minutes management saw it on camera and came down to talk to him about it,” Edward Foister said.
Amazon said it had responded to Foister’s collapse “within minutes”.
An Amazon worker on the same shift told The Guardian: “Bill was on the floor for quite some time and nobody knew that time until cameras were reviewed, but in twenty minutes a Worker in a nearby department saw him lying on the floor and then began radio callouts for (911). It really is unbelievable how Bill was laying there for twenty minutes and nobody nearby saw until an Amnesty Worker with a radio came by.”
The Worker, who requested to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, noted the Amnesty Worker started CPR after finding Foister.
Amnesty Workers are Amazon Floor Monitors who ensure the warehouse floors are clear and reset robot units when necessary.
The incident is among the latest in a series of accidents and fatalities that have led to Amazon’s inclusion on the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NCOSH) 2019 Dirty Dozen list of the most dangerous employers in the United States.
The report cited six Amazon Worker deaths between November 2018 and April 2019 and several news reports over the past few years that have detailed dangerous working conditions.
Foister, a Stower who scanned and stocked warehouse shelves with products at an Amazon warehouse in Etna, Ohio just outside of Columbus, went into cardiac arrest on September 2nd (2019).
On the 911 call recording, obtained by The Guardian, the operator directed an Amazon Employee through finding and using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on Foister, who was unresponsive to CPR.
Emergency services responded to the call in under six minutes.
“After the incident, everyone was forced to go back to work. No time to decompress. Basically watch a man pass away and then get told to go back to work, everyone, and act like it’s fine,” said another Amazon Worker on the shift.
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