Citation record for Incident 2

Suggested citation format

Olsson, Catherine. (2018-11-16) Incident Number 2. in McGregor, S. (ed.) Artificial Intelligence Incident Database. Partnership on AI. Retrieved on October 18, 2021 from incidentdatabase.ai/cite/2.

Incident Stats

Incident ID
Report Count
Incident Date
2
17
2018-11-16

Tools

All IncidentsDiscover

CSET Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Full Description

On December 5, 2018, a robot punctured a can of bear spray in Amazon's fulfillment center in Robbinsville, New Jersey. Amazon's spokesman stated that "an automated machine punctured a 9-oz can of bear repellent." The punctured can released capsaicin, an irritant, into the air. Several dozen workers were exposed to the fumes, causing symptoms including trouble breathing and a burning sensation in the eyes and throat. 24 workers were hospitalized, and one was sent to intensive care and intubated.

Short Description

Twenty-four Amazon workers in New Jersey were hospitalized after a robot punctured a can of bear repellent spray in a warehouse.

Severity

Moderate

Harm Type

Harm to physical health/safety, Harm to physical property

AI System Description

An automated machine operating within an Amazon fulfillment center.

Sector of Deployment

Transportation and storage

Relevant AI functions

Unclear

AI Applications

robotics

Location

Robbinsville, NJ

Named Entities

Amazon

Technology Purveyor

Amazon

Beginning Date

2018-12-05T08:00:00.000Z

Ending Date

2018-12-05T08:00:00.000Z

Near Miss

Harm caused

Intent

Accident

Lives Lost

No

Laws Implicated

Workplace safety laws; OSHA regulations

Incidents Reports

1 critical, 54 Amazon workers treated after bear repellent discharge in N.J. warehouse

nj.com · 2018

UPDATE: OSHA investigates Amazon warehouse bear spray accident that left worker critical

A worker at an Amazon warehouse in New Jersey was in critical condition and another 54 required treatment after being exposed to bear repellent that discharged when a can was punctured by an automated machine Wednesday morning inside the building, officials said.

A total of 54 workers at the Robbinsville distribution center were exposed to the bear repellent experienced difficulty breathing and burning in the throat and eyes, officials said. They were triaged by first responders outside the building and required treatment, according to a Robbinsville spokesman John Nalbone.

Twenty-four of those workers were taken to five local hospitals, Nalbone said.

One worker was critical and was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Hamilton, but the employee’s condition improved as of 9:30 p.m. and they were expected to be released within 24 hours, according an Amazon spokeswoman.

“All of the impacted employees have been or are expected to be released from hospital within the next 24 hours," she said. "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.”

Additional details on the other workers was not immediately available.

Around 8:45 a.m., an automated machine punctured a 9 oz. can of bear repellent containing a concentrated amount of capsaicin, an active component of chili peppers. It was confined to the third floor in the south end of the sprawling warehouse — which has hundreds of workers during a normal shift — and did not require a complete evacuation, Nalbone said.

Amazon confirmed the damaged can dispersed strong fumes in the contained area of the facility, and said there is an ongoing investigation.

“The safety of our employees is our top priority, and as such, all employees in that area have been relocated to a safe place and employees experiencing symptoms are being treated onsite,” the company spokeswoman said Tuesday morning. “As a precaution, some employees have been transported to local hospitals for evaluation and treatment.”

The warehouse was cleared for re-entry around 1 p.m. by the West Windsor Health Department, but an official will revisit the building before Thursday morning as a precaution.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect additional information on the number of workers requiring treatment and the severity of the injuries.

Sophie Nieto-Munoz may be reached at snietomunoz@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her at @snietomunoz. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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1 critical, 54 Amazon workers treated after bear repellent discharge in N.J. warehouse
Robot Punctures Bear Spray Can, More Than 50 People Sickened at New Jersey Amazon Warehouse, Town Says

nbcphiladelphia.com · 2018

More than four dozen workers became sick Wednesday morning after a can of bear repellent was punctured by an automated machine. The Amazon warehouse in Robbinsville, New Jersey immediately evacuated everyone out of the affected areas.

What to Know More than 50 people reported feeling ill and 24 were hospitalized after bear spray was released at a New Jersey Amazon facility.

A spokesperson for the town of Robbinsville says the third-floor south entrance was evacuated after a robot punctured the can.

Workers' primary complaint was difficulty breathing and burning of the eyes and throat.

More than 50 employees at an Amazon warehouse in New Jersey were sickened Wednesday after an automated machine punctured a can of bear repellent spray.

Twenty four of those workers were sent to five area hospitals, Robbinsville town spokesman John Nalbone said. One worker was listed in critical condition.

The workers said they were having trouble breathing and felt a burning sensation in their eyes and throats, Nalbone said.

A triage station was set up outside and multiple ambulances reported to the warehouse on New Canton Way in Robbinsville, Mercer County, according to the Robbinsville Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 3786.

Thirty workers were treated on the scene but not hospitalized.

Nalbone said that the first reports came in around 8:50 a.m. Later investigation revealed that an automated machine punctured the 9-ounce bear repellent can, releasing extremely concentrated Capsaican, an active component in chili peppers.

The odor was clear by early afternoon, Nalbone said.

One wing of the 1.3-million-square-foot facility was evacuated. The incident happened on the third floor, officials said.

Packages Fly Inside Amazon Facility on Cyber Monday

The Amazon fulfillment center in Mercer County, New Jersey, is expected to ship out about 1 million orders on Cyber Monday alone. Amazon has made it a priority to get packages to consumers on time and intact. (Published Monday, Nov. 26, 2018)

Amazon released a brief statement: "Today at our Robbinsville fulfillment center, a damaged aerosol can dispensed strong fumes in a contained area of the facility. The safety of our employees is our top priority, and as such, all employees in that area have been relocated to safe place and employees experiencing symptoms are being treated onsite," said the statement from Rachael Lighty, regional manager of external communications for Amazon Operations.

Lighty released another statement Wednesday night reporting that all of the impacted employees have been or are expected to be released from the hospital within the next 24 hours.

"The safety of our employees is always our top priority and a full investigation is already underway," Lighty wrote. "We’d like to thank all of the first responders who helped with today’s incident.”

Worker David Austin was on the floor above where the incident took place.

"It kind of just exploded all over the place... and it went from one side of the building to the other side," he said.

"The main spill was on this side of the building but once it got in the vents it went everywhere," worker Ariana Hayes said. "So, once we started to smell it they had us sit in the break room until they cleared it out."

Work resumed on the other floors later Monday, workers said.

Amazon thanked the "swift response of our local responders."

Amazon sells multiple brands of bear repellent on its site in can sizes as big as 10 ounces.

Bear spray contains ingredients similar to pepper sprays used for personal defense. Strong enough to stop a bear, it is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency....

Robot Punctures Bear Spray Can, More Than 50 People Sickened at New Jersey Amazon Warehouse, Town Says
24 Amazon workers sent to hospital after robot accidentally unleashes bear spray

abcnews.go.com · 2018

Twenty-four Amazon workers in New Jersey have been hospitalized after a robot accidentally tore a can of bear repellent spray in a warehouse, officials said.

The two dozen workers were treated at five local hospitals, Robbinsville Township communications and public information officer John Nalbone told ABC News. One was in critical condition while 30 additional workers were treated at the scene.

All of the workers were expected to be released from the hospital within 24 hours, WABC reported Thursday.

The official investigation revealed "an automated machine accidentally punctured a 9-ounce bear repellent can, releasing concentrated Capsaican," Nalbone said. Capsaicin is the major ingredient in pepper spray.

The fulfillment center was given the all clear by Wednesday evening.

'Amazon's automated robots put humans in life-threatening danger today'

“Today at our Robbinsville fulfillment center, a damaged aerosol can dispensed strong fumes in a contained area of the facility. The safety of our employees is our top priority, and as such, all employees in that area have been relocated to safe place and employees experiencing symptoms are being treated onsite. As a precaution, some employees have been transported to local hospitals for evaluation and treatment,” an Amazon spokeswoman told ABC News in a statement.

The company said safety of employees is always their top priority.

"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,” Amazon said in a statement Wednesday night.

(Bess Adler/Bloomberg via Getty Images FILE) Signage for Amazon is displayed atop the company's fulfillment center in Robbinsville, N.J., June 7, 2018.

"Robbinsville Fire Dept on scene at Amazon Warehouse on New Canton Way investigating 'fumes' that have several employees complaining of illness. Fire Dept is attempting to isolate the source. EMTs are triaging multiple patients. 7 ambulances and a medic currently assigned," the Robbinsville Fire Department tweeted at 6:05 a.m. on Wednesday.

Robbinsville Fire Dept on scene at Amazon Warehouse on New Canton Way investigating “fumes” that have several employees complaining of illness. Fire Dept is attempting to isolate the source. EMTs are triaging multiple patients. 7 ambulances and a medic currently assigned — Robbinsville Fire (@IAFFLocal3786) December 5, 2018

There is no threat to residents in the area and the fumes were confined to the fulfillment center's third floor south wing, Nalbone said earlier. The warehouse is approximately 1.3 million square feet and was ventilated.

Amazon employees are not unionized, but the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union issued a statement about the danger that robots pose to human workers.

"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," union president Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement. "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 labor practices."

ABC News' Briana Montalvo contributed to this report....

24 Amazon workers sent to hospital after robot accidentally unleashes bear spray
Robot's bear spray accident puts 24 Amazon workers in hospital

msn.com · 2018

The Amazon fulfilment center in Robbinsville, New Jersey. Twenty-four employees at an Amazon warehouse in New Jersey were hospitalised after a robot accidentally set off a can of bear repellent.

A 255g can of repellent containing concentrated capsaicin, a compound in chili peppers, was punctured by an automated machine after it fell off a shelf, according to local media.

The incident happened on Wednesday in a warehouse in Robbinsville, New Jersey, a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Trenton.

One of the 24 staff was reportedly sent to hospital in a critical condition, but on Wednesday night all the employees were expected to be released within 24 hours.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Amazon said: “A damaged aerosol can dispensed strong fumes in a contained area of the facility. The safety of our employees is our top priority, and as such, all employees in that area were relocated to safe place.”

The employees were hospitalised “as a precaution”, the spokesperson said.

© Catalyst Images A placard with the logo of US online retailer Amazon is seen on top of trashed appliances that have been dumped by activists of French NGOs 'Les Amis de la Terre' (Friends of the Earth) and ANV Cop21 in front of the French headquarters of Amazon on November 23, 2018 in Clichy, northwest of Paris, during a protest against the company and on the first day of the Black Friday sales. (Photo by Julie SEBADELHA / AFP) (Photo credit should read JULIE SEBADELHA/AFP/Getty Images)

The incident has again shone a spotlight on conditions in Amazon’s warehouses, which have attracted criticism in the US and the UK for poor working practices and a focus on productivity above worker safety.

A Guardian investigation in June detailed multiple instances of workers left unable to work following injuries sustained in Amazon warehouses, including the Robbinsville fulfilment centre.

Stuart Appelbaum, the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said: “Amazon’s automated robots put humans in life-threatening danger.”

He continued: “This is another outrageous example of the company putting profits over the health and safety of their workers, and we cannot stand for this. The richest company in the world cannot continue to be let off the hook for putting hard working people’s lives at risk.”

Bernie Sanders, the US senator who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, is among the politicians who have raised concerns about Amazon’s work practices and low pay.

In the UK ambulances were called to Amazon warehouses 600 times between 2015 and 2017. The company has denied that it had poor working conditions.

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Robot's bear spray accident puts 24 Amazon workers in hospital
Bear spray incident at NJ Amazon warehouse shines light on safety record

app.com · 2018

CLOSE At least 17 employees were sent to the hospital after a can of bear repellent fell off a shelf at an Amazon facility in Robbinsville. North Jersey Record

In this 2017 photo, an Amazon employee makes sure a box riding on a belt is not sticking out at the Amazon Fulfillment center in Robbinsville Township. (Photo: Julio Cortez, AP)

Internet giant Amazon was urged by a worker advocacy group weeks ago to give workplace safety its urgent attention.

After a bear spray can fell off a shelf and discharged at an Amazon warehouse in Robbinsville, sending two dozen workers to the hospital, The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health said the company needs to do a better job moving products without hurting people.

"The company keeps saying that safety of workers is their 'top priority," Marcy Goldstein Gelb, the group's co-executive director, said. "The tens of millions of consumers who will spend money at Amazon this holiday season have a right to ask: 'If that's true, why do people keep getting hurt, injured and killed at Amazon facilities?'"

Amazon has a huge stake in New Jersey with 16,000 employees at nine fulfillment centers, filling online orders around the clock. It was trying to hire 9,000 for the busy holiday shopping season. And it has helped New Jersey's job market pick up momentum.

But the incident on Wednesday, which resulted in 54 workers needing medical treatment, put a spotlight on Amazon's safety record.

MORE: 24 hospitalized, one critical after bear repellent falls off Amazon shelf

MORE: Is NJ better off after losing Amazon HQ2?

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health in April said seven workers had died at the company's warehouses since 2013, making it one of a dozen companies that put their workers and communities at risk.

The Seattle-based company has 75 fulfillment centers in North America and more than 125,000 full-time employees.

Among the incidents: Roland Smith, 57, was a temporary employee who was dragged and crushed to death by a conveyor belt in a December 2013 accident at Amazon's warehouse in Avenel.

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Other incidents have been more recent. One worker at its Carlisle, Pennsylvania, warehouse was run over by a truck in September 2017. Another at its Plainfield, Indiana, warehouse died a week later after his head was crushed by a forklift, the safety group said.

Amazon spokeswoman Rachel Lighty told the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey, “The safety of our employees is our top priority."

But worker advocacy groups said the scope of Wednesday's accident was a sign of "a profound lack of safety planning and training."

"Amazon needs to invest in safety and do better by their workers," said said Debra Coyle McFadden, executive director of the NJ Work Environment Council, a group that advocates for workplace safety.

Michael L. Diamond; @mdiamondapp; 732-643-4038; mdiamond@gannettnj.com

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Bear spray incident at NJ Amazon warehouse shines light on safety record
Dozens of Amazon employees taken to hospital after robot unleashes bear spray

independent.co.uk · 2018

Dozens of Amazon workers have been taken to hospital after a robot tore a can of bear repellent spray, discharging fumes inside a warehouse.

Employees at Amazon’s Robbinsville Township warehouse reported trouble breathing and burning sensations in their eyes and throats, a spokesperson for the township told CNN.

First responders arrived at the facility on Wednesday after receiving a 911 call saying 54 workers were experiencing symptoms.

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view. From 15p €0.18 $0.18 USD 0.27 a day, more exclusives, analysis and extras.

Soon after, an entire wing of the 1.3 million square foot building was evacuated, and 24 workers were sent to local hospitals.

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

Dozens of Amazon employees taken to hospital after robot unleashes bear spray
24 Amazon Workers Hospitalized After Robot Punctures Bear Spray In Warehouse

motherboard.vice.com · 2018

Twenty-four workers in an Amazon warehouse in New Jersey were hospitalized on Wednesday morning after a robot punctured a can of bear spray.

One worker was in critical condition, ABC News reported, and 30 more were sickened and treated on the scene. The primary cause for hospitalization was difficulty breathing, according to NBC New York. Bear spray contains concentrated capsaicin, the primary ingredient in pepper spray for humans.

Robbinsville town spokespeople initially said that a can of bear spray had fallen off of the shelf in the Amazon fulfillment center, NBC New York reported, but officials later said that the cause of the accident was a robot.

An investigation revealed that "an automated machine accidentally punctured a nine-ounce bear repellent can, releasing concentrated capsaicin," Robbinsville public information officer John Nalbone told ABC News. It’s unclear how the incident occurred.

Read More: Hackers Are Remotely Controlling Industrial Robots Now

"All of the impacted employees have been or are expected to be released from hospital within the next 24 hours,” Amazon said in a statement shared with ABC News. “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.”

As robots have become a more common sight in factories and warehouses around the world, there have been several high-profile accidents involving humans. In 2015, a German worker in a Volkswagen production plant was killed by a robot while he was inside the safety cage, according to local reports.

While it’s tempting to see such events as high-tech nightmares, they’re often labour issues. In April, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health listed Amazon on its “dirty dozen” list of most dangerous companies to work for in the US, saying that seven workers have been killed in Amazon warehouses since 2013 due to “preventable” causes such as being hit by a truck or crushed by a forklift.

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24 Amazon Workers Hospitalized After Robot Punctures Bear Spray In Warehouse
Amazon warehouse NJ accident shines light on company's safety record

usatoday.com · 2018

CLOSE At least 17 employees were sent to the hospital after a can of bear repellent fell off a shelf at an Amazon facility in Robbinsville. North Jersey Record

In this 2017 photo, an Amazon employee makes sure a box riding on a belt is not sticking out at the Amazon Fulfillment center in Robbinsville Township. (Photo: Julio Cortez, AP)

Internet giant Amazon was urged by a worker advocacy group weeks ago to give workplace safety urgent attention.

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health said seven workers nationwide have died in accidents at Amazon warehouses since 2013, tamping down praise the company received for raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

"A pay increase is worth a lot more if you come home in one piece at the end of your shift," said Marcy Goldstein Gelb, the group's co-executive director.

At least two dozen workers at Amazon's Robbinsville, New Jersey, plant were hospitalized Wednesday, officials said, after a can of bear repellent fell off a shelf, putting a fresh spotlight on the internet company's safety record.

“The safety of our employees is our top priority," Amazon spokeswoman Rachel Lighty said.

Amazon recently turned down a bid by Newark for its second headquarters in favor of Queens and Northern Virginia, but the company still has a huge stake in New Jersey, with 16,000 employees at nine fulfillment centers in the state.

The company, however, has been under increasing scrutiny for its safety record. The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health in April called out Amazon for what it said was a poor record.

Among the incidents: Roland Smith, 57, a temporary employee, was dragged and crushed to death by a conveyor belt in a December 2013 accident at Amazon's warehouse in Avenel, New Jersey.

More: Amazon, Target and more: Here are the companies committed to $15 hourly minimum wage

More: Amazon’s HQ2 will bring 25,000 jobs each to New York City and Northern Virginia

More: Amazon HQ2 and Foxconn deals leave cities feeling used

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Other incidents have been more recent. One worker at a Carlisle, Pennsylvania, warehouse was run over by a truck in September 2017. Another at its Plainfield, Indiana, warehouse died a week later after his head was crushed by a forklift, the safety group said.

"The pressure to move products will be intense inside the company's warehouses," Peter Dooley, safety and health project consultant for the group, said of the holiday shopping season. "After seven preventable deaths, the company must implement a program that eliminates all preventable illnesses, injuries and fatalities. And workers need to be part of that program for it to work."

Michael L. Diamond; @mdiamondapp; 732-643-4038; mdiamond@gannettnj.com

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2018/12/05/amazon-warehouse-nj-accident-shines-light-companys-safety-record/2216715002/...

Amazon warehouse NJ accident shines light on company's safety record
Amazon Warehouse Bear Spray Accident Injures Dozens, One Critically

popularmechanics.com · 2018

Over 50 Amazon warehouse employees were sickened on Wednesday as an automated machine punctured a can of bear repellant. The accident has resulted in 24 employees being hospitalized, with one worker in such poor condition that they've been sent into intensive care.

Working in Robbinsville Township in central New Jersey, the warehouse employees were amidst the holiday rush when the accident occurred at around 8:45 a.m., according to Amazon spokesman John Nalbone. According to Nalbone, "an automated machine punctured a 9-oz can of bear repellent," releasing the harsh spray into the third floor of the warehouse. Confined to the floor's south end, Nalbone says that the accident did not require a complete evacuation of the 1.3-million-square-foot facility that employs over 3,000 people.

The canister contained capsacian, which, according to the National Institutes of Health, can "cause burning or stinging pain to the skin, and if ingested in large amounts by adults or small amounts by children, can produce nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and burning diarrhea."

The area around the accident was cleared as first responders began triage outside. Nearby Robert Wood Johnson Hospital confirmed that it was treating nine workers due to the accident with one in ICU. The other injuries appeared to be walk-ins, and their damage remained unclear.

"The safety of our employees is our top priority, and as such, all employees in that area have been relocated to safe place and employees experiencing symptoms are being treated onsite," Amazon said in a statement released to the media. The company has promised an investigation into the incident.

By 1:00 p.m., it appeared that the drama was over—a West Windsor Health Department official determined that the warehouse was safe for reentry and employees had returned to work.

For any company, a sudden bear spray attack is less than ideal. But for Amazon, which has planned a major new headquarters near Robbinsville in Long Island City, New York, the accident accentuates a long-running rap on the company's dominant image—poor working conditions for its warehouse employees.

"Amazon's automated robots put humans in life-threatening danger today, the effects of which could be catastrophic," said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which is organizing against the company's planned headquarters, commonly known as HQ2, in a press statement. "This is another outrageous example of the company putting profits over the health and safety of their workers, and we cannot stand for this."

Source: NJ...

Amazon Warehouse Bear Spray Accident Injures Dozens, One Critically
Amazon warehouse bear spray incident leaves workers sickened in Robbinsville, N.J.

washingtonpost.com · 2018

Amazon boxes are stacked for delivery in Manhattan. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Dozens of employees at a sprawling Amazon.com warehouse in New Jersey have been sickened after an aerosol can containing bear repellent was punctured, dispersing fumes into the air, an official said.

About 80 workers reported trouble breathing Wednesday morning after a 9 oz. can of bear repellent was accidentally hit by an “automated machine” inside the 1.3 million-square-foot facility in Robbinsville Township, near Trenton, Robbinsville spokesman John Nalbone told The Washington Post. Nalbone said 24 of the workers were transported to hospitals in the area, one of whom was listed in critical condition. The conditions of the other patients were not immediately known.

Amazon said workers are being evaluated and sent to hospitals as needed.

“Today at our Robbinsville fulfillment center, a damaged aerosol can dispensed strong fumes in a contained area of the facility,” Rachael Lighty, a spokeswoman for the company, said in a statement to The Washington Post. “The safety of our employees is our top priority, and as such, all employees in that area have been relocated to a safe place and employees experiencing symptoms are being treated on-site. As a precaution, some employees have been transported to local hospitals for evaluation and treatment. We appreciate the swift response of our local responders.”

(Amazon.com chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Robbinsville Fire Dept on scene at Amazon Warehouse on New Canton Way investigating “fumes” that have several employees complaining of illness. Fire Dept is attempting to isolate the source. EMTs are triaging multiple patients. 7 ambulances and a medic currently assigned — Robbinsville Fire (@IAFFLocal3786) December 5, 2018

Nalbone, with Robbinsville Township, said someone called 911 about 8:50 a.m., reporting that the can of bear repellent had discharged on the third floor of the south wing of the warehouse.

He said that the warehouse was not evacuated but that the area where the can discharged was cleared.

Bear pepper spray is a nonlethal repellent that causes a bear’s mucous membranes to swell, making it hard for the animal to see or breathe, giving its victim an opportunity to flee, according to the Get Bear Smart Society.

It has a similar effect on humans.

Nalbone said the repellent contained capsaicin, a chile pepper extract from the pepper plant capsicum. According to an explainer from the National Park Service’s Bear Management Office, the ingredients are “an extreme irritant of the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lungs of bears, humans, and other mammals” and have been known to accidentally harm visitors at national parks.

According to the explainer, which was released by Yellowstone National Park, symptoms usually subside within 45 minutes, but people who have been exposed should be closely monitored.

It’s still not clear how the incident occurred at the Amazon warehouse. The company said it is investigating.

Read more:

It’s official: Amazon splits prize between Crystal City and New York...

Amazon warehouse bear spray incident leaves workers sickened in Robbinsville, N.J.
Amazon robot sets off bear repellant, putting 24 workers in hospital

theguardian.com · 2018

Accident in New Jersey puts new focus on retailer’s warehouse working conditions

This article is more than 4 months old

This article is more than 4 months old

Twenty-four employees at an Amazon warehouse in New Jersey were taken to hospital after a robot accidentally punctured a can of bear repellant.

The 255g can containing concentrated capsaicin, a compound in chilli peppers, was punctured by an automated machine after it fell off a shelf, according to local media.

The incident happened on Wednesday at a warehouse in Robbinsville, New Jersey, on the outskirts of Trenton.

Hate lugging cat litter? Don't make us Amazon warehouse workers do it Read more

Amazon said: “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 under way.”

The employees were taken to hospital “as a precaution”, Amazon said earlier.

The incident has again shone a spotlight on conditions in Amazon’s warehouses, which have been criticised in the US and the UK for poor working practices and a focus on productivity above worker safety.

A Guardian investigation in June detailed multiple instances of workers left unable to work after injuries sustained in the warehouses, including the Robbinsville fulfilment centre.

Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk

Stuart Appelbaum, the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said: “Amazon’s automated robots put humans in life-threatening danger. This is another outrageous example of the company putting profits over the health and safety of their workers, and we cannot stand for this. The richest company in the world cannot continue to be let off the hook for putting hard working people’s lives at risk.”

Bernie Sanders, the US senator who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, is among the politicians who have raised concerns about Amazon’s work practices and low pay.

In the UK, ambulances were called to Amazon warehouses 600 times between 2015 and 2017. The company has denied that it had poor working conditions....

Amazon robot sets off bear repellant, putting 24 workers in hospital
Amazon Has a History of Bear Repellent Accidents

wired.com · 2018

Two dozen Amazon warehouse employees in New Jersey were hospitalized Wednesday, one in critical condition, after a robot punctured a can of bear repellent, according to local reports. The news was soon picked up by national outlets and spread on social media, in part because it’s a perfect horror story for the year of our lord 2018.

In total, 54 workers at the Robbinsville, New Jersey, facility were exposed to fumes. Bear repellent is made with capsaicin, or chili pepper extract; many of the workers experienced trouble breathing and said their throats and eyes burned. All of the injured workers are expected to be released from hospitals soon, if they haven’t been already, according to Rachael Lighty, a spokesperson for Amazon. “The safety of our employees is always our top priority,” she said in a statement. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says it is conducting an investigation into the incident.

Wednesday’s mishap demonstrates the many hazards that workers must contend with in Amazon’s sprawling warehouses, where almost every product imaginable may be in stock—including aerosol cans of irritating spray for warding off bears. This particular accident comes with an added dystopian layer, since it was caused by one of the robots Amazon hopes will replace many of its human warehouse workers in the near future.

But things get much stranger when you realize this isn’t the first time a can of bear repellent has exploded in an Amazon facility. In 2015, the fire department responded to an accident at an Amazon facility in Haslet, Texas, that was caused by a robot running over a can of none other than bear repellent, according to public records unearthed by Jessica Bruder for her book Nomadland, which chronicles the lives of the retail giant’s older, transient workforce.

The New Jersey incident wasn’t even the first bear repellent accident at an Amazon facility in 2018! One employee at an Amazon warehouse in Indiana told WIRED that a can ruptured in his facility earlier this year. The worker says that accident was caused by someone dropping the can, and they believe no injuries occurred. They think the way the product is packaged may be the issue; the employee adds that they, too, have dropped the repellent, though in their case it didn’t rupture. “It’s a clamshell that pops open when you pick it up,” the employee says. “What I can say is that our safety people are on it, and they are top-notch.”

Lighty, the Amazon spokesperson, confirmed in an email that an incident involving bear repellent did occur at the Indiana facility earlier this year. She also confirmed the 2015 accident in Texas. However, she added, "I do not have exact information on the root cause of either scenario, only that they were different."

It’s not just bear spray that can cause issues at Amazon. The mishap this week in New Jersey affected a particularly large number of people, but bizarre and tragic accidents happen at the company’s facilities on a regular basis, some more serious than others. In November, two Amazon contractors were killed when a wall inside a distribution center in Baltimore collapsed during a bad storm. Seven months earlier, two people suffered minor injuries at a facility in Ohio after a tornado ripped open a 100-foot hole in the roof. In September 2017, an employee at an Amazon warehouse in Pennsylvania was run over by a truck and killed.

Accidents happen often at Amazon in part because it’s one of the largest employers in the US. Fatal occupational injuries have also been on the rise across the country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Amazon does employ onsite medical contractors, at least at some facilities, according to another employee who works at an Amazon warehouse on the East Coast. They are equipped to provide basic medical care in the case of minor illnesses and injuries. The worker said that a handful of medical staff work each shift at their facility.

Some experts say, however, that Amazon is a particularly dangerous place to work for other reasons. The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, a labor advocacy group, announced in August that Amazon topped its annual “Dirty Dozen” list highlighting companies that it believes put workers especially at risk because of unsafe labor practices. The organization counted seven deaths that have occurred at US Amazon facilities since 2013, including three at separate locations in the span of five weeks in 2017. (The two Baltimore contractors who died in November would bring the number up to nine.) When the COSH report was released, an Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider in part that, “While any serious incident is one too many, we learn and improve our programs working to prevent future incidents.” The company added that it surveys employees each month to measure their perception of safety in their facility.

In the United Kingdom, ambulances were called more than 600 times to Amazon facilities in the past three years, acco...

Amazon Has a History of Bear Repellent Accidents
Amazon workers injured in bear spray accident

bbc.com · 2018

Twenty-four Amazon workers have been hospitalised after a bear spray can was punctured at a warehouse in New Jersey in the US on Wednesday.

One of those hospitalised is in a critical condition. Another 30 people were treated by emergency services at the scene.

It is not clear what caused the accident but Amazon is investigating.

Workers evacuated the third floor of the warehouse's south entrance during the incident on Wednesday morning.

Employees experienced breathing problems, and stinging in their throat and eyes, local officials said.

John Nalbone, a spokesperson for Robinsville Township, told the BBC there was no threat to residents in the area and that fumes were confined to within the building.

Operations at the 1.3m sq ft facility - which employs more than 3,000 people - have since resumed as normal, Mr Nalbone added.

"The safety of our employees is always our top priority and a full investigation is already underway," said Rachael Lighty, a spokeswoman for Amazon.

According to the Get Bear Smart Society, the non-lethal bear repellant causes "a nearly total, yet temporary, loss of sight and severe restriction of breathing" in bears and humans....

Amazon workers injured in bear spray accident
Amazon bear spray accident attributed to robot error

tennessean.com · 2018

CLOSE Authorities said 24 workers at an Amazon warehouse in New Jersey were taken to the hospital after a can of bear repellent was punctured and released fumes Wednesday. At least one of the workers was in critical condition. (Dec. 5) AP

Emergency responders outside the Amazon warehouse in Robbinsville after 80 workers were sickened by bear repellent on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. (Photo: Dustin Racioppi/NorthJersey.com)

WOODLAND PARK, N.J. – One person was critically injured and nearly two dozen others were treated at five hospitals Wednesday in New Jersey after a can of bear repellent was reportedly torn open by a robot at an Amazon warehouse.

An investigation into the incident found "an automated machine accidentally punctured a 9-ounce bear repellent can, releasing concentrated Capsaican," an official told ABC News.

The impacted employees were released or expected to be released from hospitals on Thursday, Amazon told ABC News in a statement.

One of the workers had to have a tube inserted and was sent to the intensive care unit, hospital officials told WNBC-TV in New York.

A total of 24 workers were sent to hospitals, said John Nalbone, communications and public information officer for Robbinsville Township, New Jersey. That total includes the person who was critically injured.

An additional 30 people were treated at the scene of the Amazon fulfillment center.

Related: What does Amazon's announcement mean for Nashville's housing market?

Related: 3 things to know about Amazon's future home, Nashville Yards

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Emergency responders received a call just before 9 a.m. that 80 workers were complaining of difficulty breathing and burning in their eyes and throat. A triage area was set up outside the warehouse to treat patients. Fifty-four workers at the facility reported difficulty breathing and a burning sensation in the eyes and throat, Nalbone said. The 30 people treated at the scene did not need further medical attention, he said.

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Amazon bear spray accident attributed to robot error
Amazon bear repellent accident this week wasn’t its first

foxbusiness.com · 2018

An accident involving bear repellent at an Amazon warehouse on Wednesday that left more than two dozen hospitalized in New Jersey made national headlines -- but according to a report from Wired, that wasn’t the company’s first mishap involving the aerosol spray.

Continue Reading Below

One person remains in critical condition and 24 workers were hospitalized on Wednesday after one of the e-commerce giant’s automated robots punctured a nine-ounce can of bear repellent spray, exposing employees to the concentrated form of Capsaicin released in the air.

Capsaicin is a chili pepper extract and acts as an irritant for bears and humans.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on how the aerosol was damaged, but said the company has launched a full investigaiton into the incident. The employee who was in critical condition has improved, she added.

"The safety of our employees is always our top priority and a full investigation is already underway," the spokesperson, Rachael Lighty, said in a statement to FOX Business. "All of the impacted employees have been or are expected to be released from the hospital today."

This wasn’t even the first bear repellent incident of the year: An employee at an Amazon warehouse in Indiana reportedly told Wired that a can ruptured in that facility earlier this year, although he added that no injuries occurred.he safety of our employees is always our top priority and a full investigation is already underway

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“It’s a clamshell that pops open when you pick it up,” the employee said. “What I can say is that our safety people are on it, and they are top-notch.”

And according to Wired, in 2015, the fire department in Haslet, Texas, responded to a similar incident at a nearby Amazon facility. A robot had reportedly run over a can of bear repellent, Wired said, citing public records.

A lengthy investigation published by The Guardian in June alleged that a number of Amazon employees suffered from workplace accidents or injuries and were subsequently treated by the e-commerce giant in ways that left them homeless, unable to work or bereft of income....

Amazon bear repellent accident this week wasn’t its first
OSHA investigates Amazon warehouse bear spray accident that left worker critical

nj.com · 2018

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating an accident involving a punctured bear repellent container at a New Jersey Amazon warehouse Wednesday that left one worker in critical condition and another 24 employees seeking medical treatment.

A 9-ounce can of bear repellent was ruptured by an automated machine at the Amazon fulfillment center in Robbinsville. The aerosol spray dispersed in a confined area on the third floor in the south end of the sprawling warehouse, an Amazon spokeswoman said.

Fifty-four workers experienced difficulty breathing and burning in the throat in eyes after being exposed to the concentrated spray, officials said.

The woman critically injured in the incident is expected to be released Thursday and make a full recovery, officials said. Twenty-four workers were taken to five area hospitals, and were released after being treated. The affected area of the 1.3 million-square-foot warehouse reopened at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

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The OSHA report could take up to six months to complete, said Joanna Hawkins, a spokeswoman for the agency.

Amazon has been cited for 12 OSHA violations at its New Jersey facilities since December 2013, ranging from safety complaints about forklifts to failing to have fall protection, records show. Three of the violations have been contested and deleted, but the company has been fined at least $23,000.

The Robbinsville location — most recently inspected by OSHA in August 2017 — faced a $7,000 citation in 2015 for a violation of “recording criteria.”

OSHA also investigated an Amazon facility in Avenal in December 2013 after a worker died after being crushed by equipment. Citations were issued to Genco, a third-party logistics firm operating the facility, and four temporary staffing agencies, according to OSHA.

Overall, Amazon’s OSHA violations in New Jersey are relatively minor compared to other companies that have been hit with penalties over $300,000 in some cases, according to OSHA data. Amazon is also conducting an investigation independent from OSHA, a company spokeswoman said.

“The safety of our employees is always our top priority and a full investigation is already underway,” she said.

Sophie Nieto-Munoz may be reached at snietomunoz@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her at @snietomunoz. Find NJ.com on Facebook....

OSHA investigates Amazon warehouse bear spray accident that left worker critical
Amazon bear repellent accident sends 24 workers to the hospital

digitaljournal.com · 2018

On Wednesday this week 24 Amazon warehouse workers in Robbinsville New Jersey were hospitalized after a robot punctured a can of repellent according to local news reports. One employee is said to be in critical condition. The accident In all, 54 workers were exposed to the fumes released. Bear repellent is made with capsaican, or chili pepper extract. Many employees had trouble breathing and complained that their throat and eyes burned. However, all of the injured workers are expected to be released from the hospital soon, if they are not already, according to a spokesperson for Amazon, Rachael Lighty. In a statement The Robbinsville warehouse has drawn scrutiny for other workplace safety issues. In 2016, OSHA issued Amazon a citation for failing to report at least 26 work-related illnesses and injuries there. Nevertheless, an This is the second accident with bear spray caused by a robot Amazon is trying to automate as many tasks as it can using robots. Amazon Back in 2015 at an Amazon facility in Haslet Texas a robot ran over a can of bear repellent which exploded causing the fire department to respond. This is the second accident involving bear repellent this year An employee at an Indiana warehouse told WIRED that someone dropped a can of the repellent which then ruptured but apparently no injuries occurred. Amazon spokesperson Lighty confirmed that the Indiana incident did happen and also confirmed the 2015 accident as well. Amazon has a poor safety record according to some The National Council on Occupational Safety and Health (NCOSH) announced this August that Amazon was at the top of its "Dirty Dozen" list. The group claims that Amazon puts workers at risk because of unsafe labor practices. The NCOSH counted 7 fatalities the have taken place at US Amazon facilities since 2013. Three were at separate locations within 5 weeks in 2017. Recently, in November, 2 more An In all, 54 workers were exposed to the fumes released. Bear repellent is made with capsaican, or chili pepper extract. Many employees had trouble breathing and complained that their throat and eyes burned. However, all of the injured workers are expected to be released from the hospital soon, if they are not already, according to a spokesperson for Amazon, Rachael Lighty. In a statement Lighty said: “The safety of our employees is always our top priority." The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) claims it is conducting an investigation into the accident.The Robbinsville warehouse has drawn scrutiny for other workplace safety issues. In 2016, OSHA issued Amazon a citation for failing to report at least 26 work-related illnesses and injuries there. Nevertheless, an Amazon spokesperson said: “We take safety very seriously, we do not agree with the findings and will be contesting the citation.”Amazon is trying to automate as many tasks as it can using robots. Amazon has about 45,000 robots it is now using. However, all have one fatal flaw that makes them unlikely to replace humans in the near future. None of them have hands. A recent article notes: "Squat wheeled machines carry boxes around in more than 20 of the company’s cavernous fulfillment centers across the globe. But it falls exclusively to humans to do things like pulling items from shelves or placing them into those brown boxes that bring garbage bags and pens and books to our homes."Back in 2015 at an Amazon facility in Haslet Texas a robot ran over a can of bear repellent which exploded causing the fire department to respond.An employee at an Indiana warehouse told WIRED that someone dropped a can of the repellent which then ruptured but apparently no injuries occurred. Amazon spokesperson Lighty confirmed that the Indiana incident did happen and also confirmed the 2015 accident as well.The National Council on Occupational Safety and Health (NCOSH) announced this August that Amazon was at the top of its "Dirty Dozen" list. The group claims that Amazon puts workers at risk because of unsafe labor practices. The NCOSH counted 7 fatalities the have taken place at US Amazon facilities since 2013. Three were at separate locations within 5 weeks in 2017. Recently, in November, 2 more Amazon employees were killed by a falling wall in Baltimore caused by a storm partially collapsing the warehouse. However, Amazon hardly is at fault in this instance.An Amazon spokesperson claimed: “While any serious incident is one too many, we learn and improve our programs working to prevent future incidents.” The company claims it surveys it workers every month to gauge their perception of safety in their workplace. More about bear repellent, Robots, Amazon More news from bear repellent Robots Amazon...

Amazon bear repellent accident sends 24 workers to the hospital