Baltimore firm cited in connection with worker death at Amazon plant

June 13, 2014|By Natalie Sherman, The Baltimore Sun

A Baltimore-based temporary staffing agency faces a $6,000 fine in connection with the death of an employee, who was killed last December after being crushed by a conveyor system at an Amazon fulfillment center in New Jersey.

Abacus — The Corporate Services Co., Baltimore, which employed temporary worker Ronald Smith, and three other temp agencies failed to conduct assessments of the safety hazards at the Avenel plant before assigning workers, according to U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA also cited the Amazon contractor that operated the sorting center and oversaw the workers, Pittsburgh-based Genco, in connection with the Dec. 4 fatality.

Abacus, which has 15 days to appeal the citation, did not respond to a request for comment. Founded in Baltimore in 1944 and located in the southeastern corner of the city, the company has more than 5,000 employees across the U.S., according to its website.

In announcing the citations, OSHA said it is also investigating the June 1 death of a worker at an Amazon fulfillment center in Carlisle, Penn.

Last year, Amazon announced plans to build a distribution center in Baltimore and hire about 1,000 workers.

"Any accident that occurs in a facility is one too many and we take these matters seriously," the company said in a statement.

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