One person is in critical condition after a robot in a New Jersey Amazon warehouse punctured a can of bear repellent spray, sending concentrated capsaicin — the major ingredient in pepper spray — into the air.
Officials said 24 employees in Robbinsville Township were sent to area hospitals on Wednesday morning, while 30 more were treated at the warehouse. "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 Wednesday night. "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."
Stuart Applebaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, said in a statement that the robot "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. The richest company in the world cannot continue to be let off the hook for putting hard-working people's lives at risk." Amazon, he added, must be "held accountable for these and so many more dangerous labor practices." Catherine Garcia