Amazon is facing criticisms about its health and safety policies following the death of six workers at a warehouse in Illinois, USA due to a tornado. One 26-year-old cargo driver died in the factory bathroom, where many workers stated they were urged to shelter after receiving emergency notifications on their mobile phones. “It sounded like a train came through the building. The ceiling tiles came flying down. It was very loud. They made us shelter in place until we left – it was at least two-and-a-half hours in there,” according to an employee who has worked at the factory for three months. One of the victims’ sisters shared in a statement that according to a conversation shared between her brother and her parents, he and the other workers were not ordered to seek cover immediately after the first warning siren sounded.

The company’s Edwardsville site received tornado warnings between 20:06 and 20:16 local time before it hit the building at 20:27, Amazon said in a statement, with events “happening incredibly fast”. The team worked “incredibly quickly” to guarantee that as many employees as possible could reach the “shelter in place” location. The catastrophic storms slammed through six US states, on Friday evening, December 10, leaving 100 people dead and devastating houses and businesses over a 200-mile (322-kilometer) radius. The US Department of Labor claims that the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation into the building collapse.