Amazon workers getting injured at higher rates compared to competitors, labor union claims
There were allegedly 27,178 total recordable injuries in 2020, the union said
Amazon warehouse workers are allegedly getting injured more frequently and more severely compared to workers at rival companies, according to a new report.
In 2020 alone, there were over 27,000 recordable injuries, according to findings by the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC), which were made public in its "Primed for Pain" report. Recordable injuries can be anything that requires medical treatment beyond first aid or that limits and even prevents an employee from being able to keep working.
For every 100 employees, there were 5.9 serious injuries, forcing employees to either miss work entirely or work in a limited capacity, the SOC, which is a democratic coalition of four labor unions, claims.
A majority of these injuries, according to workers surveyed by the SOC, are related to "production pressure or speed."
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"Amazon’s abysmal health and safety record is not an accident," the SOC wrote. "Rather, it is the predictable outcome of a company that prioritizes speed, growth and profits over the health and safety of its employees"
The SOC further claims that Amazon's serious injury rate is nearly 80% higher compared to "all other employers in the warehousing industry in 2020."
In comparing Amazon’s injury rates with Walmart, its strongest competitor in the e-commerce sector, the SOC found that Amazon warehouses "were far more dangerous than Walmart’s" in all four years.
In fact, Amazon’s warehouse injury rate was more than double what Walmart's was in 2020, according to the report. During that same year, Amazon’s severe injury rate was also more than two-and-a-half times Walmart’s rate, the report continued.
SOC also found that Amazon delivery stations and delivery contractors are getting injured even more frequently than workers in Amazon’s fulfillment centers. About 89% of delivery workers, which work for one of Amazon’s Delivery Service Partners (DSPs), also reported that their pain or injury stemmed from production pressure or speed.
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"Amazon’s own records show that, year after year, workers are injured in its operations at alarming rates and that Amazon is not taking meaningful and consistent steps to improve occupational health and safety," the report read.
SOC claims that it wasn't until 2020 that Amazon – in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and protests from workers – made "massive operational changes to its warehouse operations that temporarily reduced production pressure on workers."
Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel told FOX Business that over the past year the company "dedicated workplace health and safety team to more than 6,200 employees and invested more than $1B in new safety measures."
This includes expanding programs like WorkingWell, implementing new technology and processes, providing personal protective equipment, and enhancing cleaning and sanitizing measures, according to Nantel.
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"While any incident is one too many, we are continuously learning and seeing improvements through ergonomics programs, guided exercises at employees’ workstations, mechanical assistance equipment, workstation setup and design, and forklift telematics and guardrails – to name a few," Nantel said.
For its findings, the SOC analyzed data reported by Amazon and its competitors to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding workers' experiences in the warehouse and delivery sectors between 2017 and 2020.
Representatives for OSHA did not respond to FOX Business' request for comment.