An investigation into an Amazon.com Inc building collapse in Illinois on Friday night has been opened by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an official at the U.S. Department of Labor said on Monday.
OSHA has six months to complete its investigation, issue citations and propose monetary penalties if violations of workplace safety and or health regulations are found, Scott Allen, a U.S. Department of Labor regional director for public affairs, said via email. He added that compliance officers have been on site since Saturday.
Six workers were killed when the Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, buckled under the force of the devastating storm, police said. A barrage of tornadoes ripped through six U.S. states, leaving a trail of death and destruction at homes and businesses stretching more than 200 miles.
An Amazon spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The National Weather Service said a tornado hit the area between 8:28 p.m. and 8:32 p.m. local time on Friday, intensifying rapidly as it struck the Amazon warehouse. With estimated peak winds of 150 miles per hour, the force was so severe the roof was ripped off and 11-inch thick concrete walls longer than football fields fell in on themselves.
At least 45 Amazon employees made it out safely. Authorities had given up hope of finding more survivors as they shifted from rescue to recovery efforts that were expected to last days.
The company has three facilities in Edwardsville: the delivery station hit by the storm as well as a fulfillment center and a sorting station. The delivery station opened in July 2020 to prepare orders for last-mile delivery to customers.
This article was first published in Business Insurance.