Amazon waves off rumors over worker’s death in Carteret, NJ
CARTERET — Amazon has shared more details surrounding the death of a worker at one of the company’s fulfillment centers, saying that it appears to have stemmed from a “personal medical condition.”
The worker — whose identity has not been disclosed, other than the first name "Rafael" making the rounds on social media — was rushed to a hospital the morning of July 13 as the online retail giant’s annual, busy Prime Day sale was wrapping up.
“We’re deeply saddened by the passing of our colleague and offer our condolences to his family and friends. There have been rumors suggesting that his passing was work-related — those statements are false,” Amazon spokesperson Sam Stephenson said in a written statement to New Jersey 101.5 on Monday.
A fellow employee has told authorities that the man who died had reported experiencing chest pains the evening before his shift, but did not report that information to his on-site managers.
The Middlesex County area office of the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration previously confirmed that it had launched a routine investigation, which could take several months to complete.
“Immediately after our employee collapsed, our onsite medical expert responded and began emergency treatment. In addition, 911 was immediately called and arrived at the site within 16 minutes of when the medical incident occurred,” Stephenson continued.
“We’re thankful for the quick actions of our own teams and the first responders. This has been a tragic situation for our employee’s family and for our colleagues at EWR9 who worked with him. We are in contact with his family to offer support and are providing counseling resources to employees needing additional care.”
Congressman Donald Norcross previously tweeted that "this death was preventable," adding on July 20 that he has called on OSHA to "investigate unacceptable injury rates" at Amazon warehouses in the state.
Union members of an Amazon location in upstate New York, in a town outside of Albany, has planned a "Protest in Memory of Amazon NJ Employee Rafael's Death On July 13" according to a Facebook event listing.