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OSHA issues findings after a deadly tornado strikes a major distributor's warehouse

amazon plant damaged after tornado


Federal investigators have recommended several workplace safety solutions to a major retailer following a deadly tornado outbreak back in December.

Key Highlights

In December 2021, an EF3 tornado struck an amazon warehouse in Illinois, killing 6 people.

AccuWeather’s warning for that same location provided 21 minutes of advanced notice ahead of the 150 mph winds

On average, AccuWeather forecast tools give clients on average 2x the advance notice of other weather services

Lessons Learned

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) concluded its investigation and issued a Hazard Alert Letter in response to a fatal incident at Amazon’s warehouse in Edwardsville, IL on Dec. 10, 2021. On that date, an EF3 tornado packing winds up to 150 mph struck the building, causing it to collapse, killing six people and leaving several injured. AccuWeather’s warning for that same location at that same time provided 21 minutes of advanced notice. OSHA’s findings and letter should serve as a wake-up call to all businesses and organizations about the urgent need to protect employees, customers, visitors, contractors, and other people that may be on-site at each of their locations from a wide variety of dangerous weather and natural disaster threats.  Companies must be prepared with a well-defined plan and, importantly, how they are going to communicate the activation of that plan as quickly as possible to those immediately at risk when every second counts. 

OHSA highlights the need to: 

  • Consider what types of severe weather and natural disasters may occur on a site-specific basis – not just a general or broad plan for the entire company at every location. This very important point is one that AccuWeather has long-established and consistently emphasizes to customers as a best practice. We help companies evaluate what weather and natural disaster risks are likely in each microclimate of a company’s operating locations and then assist in the development of tailored action plans for each type of severe weather or natural disaster risk. 
  • Conduct drills to ensure employees, customers and contractors are prepared – this is essential. AccuWeather For Business severe weather and emergency management experts routinely conduct various severe weather scenario table-top exercises and other drills with our business customers so that companies can practice these procedures and develop experience responding to them before severe weather strikes. Practicing a response to severe weather well before an immediate threat occurs leads to greater safety and a smoother process when an actual emergency threatens a location. 
  • Emergency plans have to cover all threats – some people may not have anticipated a tornado threat in Illinois in December during the same month as a devastating wildfire occurred in Boulder, Colorado, another natural disaster happening outside of what many people consider as the ‘risk period’ for such severe weather. Climate change is driving severe weather impacts outside of the typical risk period, and people and businesses must be prepared for these threats – lives and corporate reputations depend on such vigilance. 

Don’t be caught off-guard by rapidly changing weather—partner with us to weather any storm.

Severe weather can strike at any time of the day or night, requiring constant vigilance and the most accurate, site-specific weather warnings to activate established emergency procedures. AccuWeather For Business has helped hundreds of companies establish and operationalize these procedures and run drills for thousands of locations. We consider the hazards that exist for each location depending on a variety of factors, such as proximity to streams and rivers, exposure, elevation, and more. Our groundbreaking forecast tools ensure you stay ahead of any severe threats, all backed by our expert meteorologists and Superior Accuracy™.

Stay safe with SkyGuard® Warnings:

  • Proactive, site-specific alerts offer advance warnings well before severe weather impacts occur
  • Live one-on-one or group consultation is provided by our weather experts anytime, day or night
  • Alerts are delivered in a format that aligns with your organizational emergency management plan
  • All-clear notifications are delivered when a threat is over, minimizing weather-related downtime
  • All alerts are delivered via push notification from the SkyGuard mobile app, available on Android and iOS

Partner with us to weather the storm and protect your business.

Demo SkyGuard today!