Amazon Workers Hospitalized After Robotic Arm Sprays Bear Repellent

The accident sent 24 Amazon fulfillment employees to the hospital in New Jersey.
Shelby Rogers
Amazon fulfillment center in Madrid, SpainWikipedia Creative Commons

Two dozen Amazon employees were sent to the hospital after a machine punctured a can of bear repellent, spraying it everywhere.

The toxic fumes inside the building led to a wing of the massive building being evacuated, spokeswoman Rachael Lighty said.

Employees struggled to breathe and felt burning sensations in their throats, according to reports. Emergency personnel reported that 54 workers experienced symptoms and 24 of those workers were taken to nearby hospitals. One Amazon worker was in critical condition.

"A damaged aerosol can dispensed strong fumes in a contained area of the facility," Lighty said. "The safety of our employees is always our top priority and a full investigation is already underway. We'd like to thank all of the first responders who helped with today's incident."

Originally developed in the mid-1980s, capsaicin and other capsaicinoids are the active ingredients in bear sprays. The sprays are considered more effective than firearms when it comes to deterring a charging bear, according to several studies.

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