OSHA investigates Amazon warehouse collapse in Illinois

Federal and state officials said on Monday they would investigate the collapse of an Amazon delivery depot in Edwardsville, Ill., which...

Federal and state officials said on Monday they would investigate the collapse of an Amazon delivery depot in Edwardsville, Ill., which was hit by a tornado on Friday, killing six people.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said during a press conference that a state investigation into whether the building was constructed in accordance with building codes was underway, while federal occupational safety regulators said they opened an investigation after the collapse.

Company officials have defended their security procedures.

During the press conference, Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said the company believed the building was constructed correctly, despite the catastrophic damage. “Obviously we want to go back and look at all aspects of this,” she said.

Mr Pritzker said he was already discussing with lawmakers whether state building codes should be updated “based on the climate change we see all around us.” He added: “This is something that concerns us deeply, to make sure that the code is where it should be.”

The federal investigation will be led by the local office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which has compliance officers on the ground since Saturday, said Scott Allen, the agency’s regional spokesperson. He said the agency had six months “to complete its investigation, issue citations and propose financial penalties if violations of occupational safety and / or health rules are found.”

John Felton, an Amazon logistics manager, said at the press conference with the governor of Illinois that “everything we have seen, all procedures were followed correctly.” He said the 46 people in the delivery depot when the tornado hit acted “heroically”, using phones, megaphones and other tools to move as many people as possible to safety.

Thirty-nine people took refuge in a space on the north side of the building which was “almost untouched,” Mr Felton said, and seven people gathered on the south side of the facility, which fell directly into the path of the tornado.

Shelter spaces were not separate rooms, but indoor locations away from windows and other hazards, Ms. Nantel said.

Mr Pritzker said the risk of flooding in the industrial area where the building is located precluded the construction of basement structures that could have provided better protection. He said there was a “continuing review” of the initial confusion over the number of people in the building, which was made up of many entrepreneurs who were not required to scan their badges when entering the building at the end of their shift.

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Newsrust - US Top News: OSHA investigates Amazon warehouse collapse in Illinois
OSHA investigates Amazon warehouse collapse in Illinois
Newsrust - US Top News
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