Amazon Employees Hospitalized After Robot Accidentally Released Bear Spray

Irving Hamilton
December 7, 2018

Two dozen Amazon workers at a facility in New Jersey have been hospitalized after a robot accidentally tore into a can of bear repellant spray, releasing it into the air at an indoor warehouse.

At least one of the workers was said to have been in critical condition Wednesday afternoon, but communications representative Rachel Lightly said that worker is among those expected to be released.

However, opponents remained unimpressed at failures to tackle the wider problems in the warehouses, and ABC News reported that - despite Amazon workers not being unionised - the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union had issued a statement about the Robbinsville incident.

Capsaicin is the major active ingredient in bear spray.

According to an Amazon spokeswoman, the repellent was released in a "contained area of the facility" which was subsequently filled with strong fumes. As a precaution, some employees were transported to local hospitals for evaluation and treatment. Amazon assured media that all workers would be discharged from the hospitals within 24 hours.

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The Dow plunged 730 points, or 2.8 percent, to 25,095, more than erasing its 488-point gain over the previous two trading days. Concerns were also compounded by increasing news narrative on inverted curves and risks of a recession".

Amazon claimed a "full investigation is already underway", thanking emergency personnel who responded to the scene.

The warehouse was evacuated and vented. Workers were given the okay to return to work later Wednesday evening.

"This is another outrageous example of the company putting profits over the health and safety of their workers, and we can not stand for this".

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".

"This is another outrageous example of the company putting profits over the health and safety of their workers, and we can not stand for this", he added, emphasizing that as one of the world's biggest companies, Amazon "cannot continue to be let off the hook for putting hard working people's lives at risk". Between 2015 and 2017, ambulances were called to Amazon warehouses 600 times.

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