Amazon Worker Dies After Collapsing on Floor Unnoticed

Warehouse employee was sent back to shift after complaining of chest pains
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2019 11:00 AM CDT
Go Back to Work, Amazon Tells Shift After Man's Heart Attack
A worker pushes bins at an Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore in 2017.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

An Amazon employee who collapsed after a heart attack lay on the warehouse floor for 20 minutes before receiving help. Billy Foister, 48, had gone to the fulfillment center's medical clinic a week before with chest pains, told he was just dehydrated, and sent back to work, the Guardian reports. "There was no reason for my brother to have died," Edward Foister said. Another employee said it wasn't known how long Billy was on the floor until video footage was reviewed. Eventually, a floor monitor saw him and called 911. Amazon said later he received help "within minutes." His brother said he was told when he arrived at the hospital that attempts to revive Billy failed. "How can you not see a 6-foot-3 man laying on the ground and not help him within 20 minutes?" Edward Foister said. "A couple of days before, he put the wrong product in the wrong bin and within two minutes management saw it on camera and came down to talk to him about it."

A worker had died in March at the warehouse, which is in Etna, Ohio, after a heart attack. On the 911 call, per the New York Post, a supervisor can be heard telling another employee to "go back to work." That happened after Foister's death, too, an employee said: "Basically watch a man pass away and then get told to go back to work, everyone, and act like it's fine." Amazon is on the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health's "Dirty Dozen" list of the nation's most dangerous employers; six Amazon employees died at work between November 2018 and this April. Etna employees called 911 28 times in the first three months of the year. Edward Foister said his brother should have been told to go to the hospital when he first reported chest pains, "not just sent back to work just to put things like toothpaste in a bin so somebody can get it in an hour." (More stories.)

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