Did Amazon employee die by suicide inside Las Vegas facility? Workers highlight 'stressful job' conditions

Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the death 'was not related to activities performed under their scope of employment and will not be investigated'


                            Did Amazon employee die by suicide inside Las Vegas facility? Workers  highlight 'stressful job' conditions
Amazon workers responded to the news, with some relaying their personal experiences (Getty Images)

An Amazon worker is reported to have died by suicide after having appeared to have "fallen or jumped" and was pronounced dead inside an Amazon facility in North Las Vegas, Nevada, according to reports. The Clark County coroner's office determined later that the man died by suicide.

According to reports, North Las Vegas police were called to a warehouse operated by Amazon on the 6000 block of East Tropical Parkway for a report of an injured person at 6:54 am local time on Monday, March 1. Police spokesman Alexander Cuevas told the Last Vegas Review-Journal that the death was not considered suspicious and confirmed that the deceased was an Amazon employee.

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The publication also reported that Teri Williams, a spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Business and Industry, said that the agency's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was notified. Williams told the Review-Journal, "A preliminary investigation by the agency indicates that while the death occurred on Amazon property, it was not related to activities performed under their scope of employment and will not be investigated by OSHA."

Amazon employees hold a protest and walkout over conditions at the company's Staten Island distribution facility on March 30, 2020, in New York City. Workers at the facility, which has had numerous employees test positive for the coronavirus, want to call attention to what they say is a lack of protections for employees who continue to come to work amid the coronavirus outbreak (Getty Images).

Following the man's death, the warehouse was shut down for the day and all employees were sent home with pay, according to Amazon spokesperson Lisa Levandowski. However, NBC News reported one Amazon employee telling the outlet that while she saw police cars and ambulances in the parking lot, when she arrived for work just after 7 am "nobody knew what was going on" and that Amazon staff members began installing barricades around the area where the worker was found.

The employee said that "everyone was so confused," and that supervisors told the workers to continue working until about 9:40 am when they were sent home. A WSWS report corroborated the timing when the workers were sent home.

The WSWS also reported that an Amazon worker posted on a Facebook group that "apparently someone" died by suicide at the Amazon LAS7, the warehouse in question. When asked what happened, the user wrote, "They [managers] watched the camera and others said he jumped too.” The report also states that a Reddit user wrote that the man who died was a stower.

Former injured Amazon employees join labor organizers and community activists to demonstrate and hold a press conference outside of an Amazon Go store in the loop to express concerns about what they claim is the company's "alarming injury rate" among warehouse workers on December 10, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois. According to the community group Warehouse Workers for Justice, some Amazon warehouse facilities have injury rates more than twice the industry average, with peak rates occurring during the holiday season (Getty Images).

According to the outlet, another employee from the fulfillment center wrote that the fourth-floor landing for the stairway is an "unnetted area of our facility, where it's a straight drop. Nauseating walking on it [because] the net & railing is less [than waist height]. I’ve never known someone who even tries to have an accident up that high. I pray he has a successful journey, prayers to the family & friends who have to pick up the pieces.”

Other Amazon workers also responded to the news, with it hitting close to home for some as they relayed their personal experiences. WSWS reported that one Amazon worker wrote on Facebook, "It makes me really heartbroken for this person’s family and friends. I know what it’s like to lose somebody to suicide.” Another added, "I struggle with mental illness very heavily and this hit very close. It needs to be talked about. Someone lost their life today at a place we’re at 40+ hours a week obviously something needs to be addressed.”

WSWS also reported that another worker commented on Reddit, "The number of suicides has gone up lately it seems. Just 2 weeks ago I was thinking about that myself because I lost my dream job, I had to put my college classes on hold, and I lost the only close friend I had. I was forced to work at Amazon because it was the only job available. This all happened because of the damn pandemic which I’m sick of but I was able to remain calm and work on my mental health. Unfortunately, some people just don’t see a way out of their problems and decide to end it all. Amazon is already a very stressful job. It gets to some people eventually.”