FedEx Worker Killed in Accident at Memphis Hub

07 Dec, 2023 Liz Carey

                               

Memphis, TN (WorkersCompensation.com) – A FedEx worker is dead after a serious accident at the company’s World Hub in Memphis, Tenn., officials said.

According to the Memphis Police Department (MPD), officers were called to the facility just after 11:20 p.m. on Nov. 30 for an “accidental death.”

Police said when they arrived an employee at the campus was critically injured. He was taken to Regional One Health, but was later declared dead at the hospital.

While neither police nor FedEx released the name, age or gender of the employee, according to WMC in Memphis, the victim was a woman in her 80s. Action 5 News on WMC said it was the fifth death at the world hub since 2017. Attorney Jeff Rosenblum who represents the families of workers who have lost their lives at the FedEx World Hub said the number is too high.

“One person is too many,” Rosenblum told WMC. “Two people, three people, four people. When is it going to stop? And when is there going to be change where we have real attention where we say, we need to slow down?”

The holidays are busiest time of the year for the delivery company. Rosenblum said he is pushing for real change.

“At the end of the day, we’re moving and pushing the legislature to amend our statues to allow there to be an avenue of recovery,” he said.

Last year, on Nov. 30, Angelo Scott died at the plant after the heavy duty vehicle he was driving was hit by an industrial truck. In February 2022, Jessica James died after an industrial accident at the warehouse when the forklift she was operating fell on her. In 2019, Duntate Young was killed after being hit by a shipping container door. And in 2017, Ellen Gladney was found dead under a motorized mobile conveyer belt system.

“This is the tenth, eleventh, twelfth however many deaths we’ve had and most of them are occurring during the holiday season when there is increased activity at the FedEx Hub where there is an increased number of temporary employees who have a different level of training,” Rosenblum said.

The fatalities have resulted in numerous violations from the Tennessee OSHA. An investigation into the facility found serious violations resulting in TOSHA assessing the company $50,000 for the deaths. For perspective, FedEx had gross total revenues of nearly $94 billion in 2022.

Some of those fines were reduce or waived after FedEx agreed to address the violations and remedy the problems. It’s unclear from OSHA records if the issues have been re-inspected and corrected.

TOSHA said it is investigating the incident.

“On Thursday, November 30, 2023, Tennessee OSHA (TOSHA) received a report regarding a workplace fatality that occurred on November 29 at the FedEx facility located at 2903 Sprankle Drive, Memphis,” the agency said in a statement. “TOSHA sent an investigator to the location to determine the circumstances that led to the worker’s death. During the investigative process, the TOSHA investigator typically surveys the location of the incident, reviews company records, and procedures, and conducts interviews with management and employees.”

TOSHA said the investigation could take between 8 and 10 weeks to complete.

FedEx said in a statement that it joined the worker’s family in grief.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends who are mourning their loved one,” the company said. “Safety is our highest priority, and we are investigating the circumstances of this accident.”

The incident was the latest in a number of fatalities and injuries at warehouses and mega-distribution centers across the country.

On Nov. 28, it was announced that Amazon was fined $7,000 in a worker’s death, but that the company was appealing the decision.

In May, a 20-year-old worker at the Amazon facility in Fort Wayne, Ind. died while operating a one-man lift. According to reports, Caes David Gruesbeck had traveled 103 feet on the lift to clear a jam on a conveyor line. While on his way, his head struck another conveyor, OSHA officials said following an investigation. Gruesbeck suffered blunt force trauma to the head and died.

The investigation found that Amazon failed to ensure there was sufficient headroom under the conveyor while someone operated the one-man lift, and that the company should have prohibited employees from standing unprotected in the elevated part of the lift while driving under low clearance objects, as well as trained employees to not stand up where there is insufficient headroom. The Indiana Department of Labor cited Amazon for a “serious” violation and proposed a $7,000 penalty.

Amazon, which in 2022 had a total net revenue of more than $514 billion, is fighting the penalty.

Maureen Lynch Vogel sent out the following statement:

“Our thoughts continue to be with our employee’s family and team at the site. After the tragedy, we immediately closed the facility, notified Indiana OSHA, and began cooperating with their investigation,” Maureen Lynch Vogel, a spokesperson for the company told WANE. “We can confirm the employee was up to date on all his training, was qualified to run the machinery, and was wearing proper protective equipment at the time of the incident.”

OSHA has filed at least six safety violations against Amazon facilities across the country since 2022 and fined the company more than $270,000 in response to violations and a finding of high rates of ergonomic injuries at the plants.


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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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