Business / Tech

Several Amazon workers sprayed with bear spray by robot

Bear repellent spray is strong enough to stop a bear so imagine what it can do to a human.

Bear spray is some powerful stuff… heck, it has to be in order to stop a bear. My in-laws live in Montana and I remember the first time I went hiking in the mountains and being given a can of bear spray. I was told what it was for and showed how to use it. I honestly remember thinking I could hurt myself if I got a spritz of the stuff. Bear spray is basically a souped-up pepper spray that stops bears from attacking. It’s non-lethal but that doesn’t mean you can’t get hurt from its effects. That’s exactly what happened to 24 Amazon warehouse workers after a robot accidentally sprayed them with the substance.

The incident happened in New Jersey where 24 employees were sent to the hospital — one in critical condition — and 30 other workers were treated at the scene.

“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.

Amazon workers do not belong to a union but the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union issued a statement about the incident anyway.

“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.”

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  Source: ABC News
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