An accident involving bear repellent at an Amazon warehouse on Wednesday that left more than two dozen hospitalized in New Jersey made national headlines -- but according to a report from Wired, that wasn’t the company’s first mishap involving the aerosol spray.
One person remains in critical condition and 24 workers were hospitalized on Wednesday after one of the e-commerce giant’s automated robots punctured a nine-ounce can of bear repellent spray, exposing employees to the concentrated form of Capsaicin released in the air.
Capsaicin is a chili pepper extract and acts as an irritant for bears and humans.
An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on how the aerosol was damaged, but said the company has launched a full investigaiton into the incident. The employee who was in critical condition has improved, she added.
"The safety of our employees is always our top priority and a full investigation is already underway," the spokesperson, Rachael Lighty, said in a statement to FOX Business. "All of the impacted employees have been or are expected to be released from the hospital today."
This wasn’t even the first bear repellent incident of the year: An employee at an Amazon warehouse in Indiana reportedly told Wired that a can ruptured in that facility earlier this year, although he added that no injuries occurred.he safety of our employees is always our top priority and a full investigation is already underway
“It’s a clamshell that pops open when you pick it up,” the employee said. “What I can say is that our safety people are on it, and they are top-notch.”
And according to Wired, in 2015, the fire department in Haslet, Texas, responded to a similar incident at a nearby Amazon facility. A robot had reportedly run over a can of bear repellent, Wired said, citing public records.
A lengthy investigation published by The Guardian in June alleged that a number of Amazon employees suffered from workplace accidents or injuries and were subsequently treated by the e-commerce giant in ways that left them homeless, unable to work or bereft of income.