Amazon has been on fire for unsafe working conditions in recent years, ranging from allegations of failing to adhere to the appropriate Covid-19 protocol at the height of the epidemic to concerns surrounding its emergency-response system after a tornado killed six people in Edwardsville, Illinois. In December. Most recently, a survey from the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC), an alliance of four trade unions, found that Amazon warehouse workers were twice as injured as warehouse workers from other companies last year.
The SOC analyzed injury data submitted by Amazon to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 2021. Last year, Amazon employed 33% of all U.S. warehouse workers, yet Amazon was responsible for 49% of all injuries across the industry. There were a total of 38,334 record-breaking injuries at Amazon facilities, of which about 34,000 were considered serious, with employees being defined as being prevented from performing their normal duties or missing their jobs altogether.
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The report compares injuries to Amazon warehouses to the advantage of other companies, revealing that the ecommerce giant reported 6.8 serious injuries per 100 warehouse workers, while competitors reported 3.3 serious injuries per 100 workers. Injury rates were calculated as the sum of the rates at individual locations. Looking at similar data from 2017 to 2020, an earlier SOC report further found that Amazon warehouses are less secure than other facilities.
Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel told the SOC report: “Like other companies in the industry, we’ve seen record growth in injuries from 2020 to 2021 because we’ve trained so many new people – however, when you compare 2021 to 2019, our record injury rate per year It has dropped by more than 13%. ” Nantel further noted that the company has hired several thousand additional employees to meet the increased demand.
Last year, the company announced that it would pay $ 300 million for safety promotion, including a new wellness initiative called Workingwell, aimed at halving the record-breaking injury rate by 2025.
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The SOC report’s release coincides with the Labor Department issuing a rare “intentionally serious” quote in Washington’s home state of Washington, and a $ 60,000 fine for knowingly putting workers at risk of injury. According to department inspections, 10 of the 12 procedures were assessed “creating a serious risk for work-related back, shoulder, wrist and knee injuries.”
Earlier this month, workers at Amazon Warehouse in New York City made history in the United States for the first time since the company’s founding in 1994, due to safety concerns at work.