Amazon warehouse workers more seriously injured than workers at competing companies

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A new study found that Amazon warehouse workers are much more likely to be injured than warehouse workers at competing companies.

New work-related injury statistics of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration showed that since 2017, Amazon reported higher rates of serious injuries that caused employees to miss work or switch to lighter tasks, compared to other retail warehouse managers, the Washington Post reported.

In 2020, there were 5.9 serious injuries for every 100 full-time Amazon warehouse workers, nearly double the number of serious injuries recorded in non-Amazon warehouses.

By comparison, Walmart, the largest private employer in the US and one of Amazon’s competitors, reported 2.5 serious cases per 100 employees at its facilities in 2020, the Post reported. Other companies included in the OSHA data include Bed, Bath & Beyond and Big Lots.

In 2020, there were 5.9 serious injuries for every 100 full-time Amazon warehouse workers, nearly double the number of serious injuries recorded in non-Amazon warehouses

In 2020, there were 5.9 serious injuries for every 100 full-time Amazon warehouse workers, nearly double the number of serious injuries recorded in non-Amazon warehouses

A new study found that Amazon warehouse workers are much more likely to be injured than warehouse workers in competing warehouses

A new study found that Amazon warehouse workers are much more likely to be injured than warehouse workers in competing warehouses

Warehouse workers at Amazon fulfillment centers, sorting centers (pictured) and delivery stations are forced to pay hourly rates to store, collect and pack items, which some critics say is too difficult and has resulted in injuries.

Warehouse workers at Amazon fulfillment centers, sorting centers (pictured) and delivery stations are forced to pay hourly rates to store, collect and pack items, which some critics say is too difficult and has resulted in injuries.

The Post found that 5,411 facilities used for warehousing and warehousing — 638 of which are owned by Amazon and its subsidiaries — sent reports to OSHA in 2020.

While the causes of the injuries aren’t listed in the OSHA report, Amazon workers and union representatives say some of the blame lies in productivity pressures.

Warehouse workers at Amazon fulfillment centers, sorting centers and delivery stations are forced to pay hourly rates for storing, collecting and packaging items, which some critics say is too difficult and leads to injuries.

“They have unrealistic expectations,” Bobby Gosvener, a former Amazon warehouse worker in Tulsa who left last year when he was injured, told the Post.

Debbie Berkowitz, a former OSHA chief of staff and senior policy advisor, who now works at the National Employment Law Project, an employee advocacy group, told the Post that that company sets unrealistic goals for employees.

“The pace of work and the amount of twisting and turning is enormous,” she says. “There is a constant pressure to work quickly.”

But last April in his final letter to shareholders in which he addressed workplace safety issues, CEO Jeff Bezos disagreed.

“We don’t set unreasonable performance goals,” he wrote. “We set achievable performance goals that take into account employee employment and actual performance data.”

In that same letter, he added that the e-commerce company “must do better for our employees” and pledged to make Amazon the “world’s best employer.” CNBC.com reported.

Critics say workers at Amazon fulfillment centers must meet 'unrealistic expectations', which could lead to serious injuries

Critics say workers at Amazon fulfillment centers must meet ‘unrealistic expectations’, which could lead to serious injuries

Amazon said the company plans to invest more than $300 million in security projects this year to protect warehouse workers (pictured)

Amazon said the company plans to invest more than $300 million in security projects this year to protect warehouse workers (pictured)

Last month, the company launched the WorkingWell program to reduce workers’ risk of injury. Amazon said its goal was to reduce the number of work-related accidents by 50 percent by 2025.

Company wrote that it plans to invest more than $300 million in security projects this year. The program focuses on focused on work-related injuries related to musculoskeletal conditions, which account for 40 percent of work-related injuries at the company.

Amazon said these types of injuries, which usually include sprains or strains from repetitive motion, decreased by 32 percent between 2019 and 2020.

Several employees shared their stories of workplace accidents at Amazon’s warehouses with the Post, including 26-year-old Safiyo Mohamed who was injured in the Shakopee, Minnesota warehouse during peak season in 2018 when she took goods off an assembly line.

After being in pain for a few days, Mohamed’s doctor told her she had a hernia and to avoid heavy lifting at work, but Amazon didn’t give her any time off and a supervisor encouraged her to work through the pain. work, the Post reported.

“They just kept me working,” she told the Post. “They didn’t care if I was injured or not. They want me to achieve this (performance) target.’

Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel disputed parts of Mohamed’s account, saying she did not seek medical attention for several days after her injury and when she did, on-site medical staff provided three separate emergency care treatments that Mohamed said reduced her pain, the Post reported. .

The company told the Post that there was no indication at the time that the injury was serious and that the company sheltered Mohamed for the remainder of her time at Amazon on light work. Mohamed claims that she was never offered a light task.

Nantel also told the Post in a statement that part of the company’s investment in worker safety included hiring more than 6,200 employees for its workplace health and safety group.

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