Amazon warehouse workers in the United States suffered serious injuries at twice the rate of its competitors in 2021, according to a new study.
There were 6.8 severe injuries for every 100 Amazon warehouse workers. That’s more than double the rate of all other employers in the warehouse industry, which had 3.3 severe injuries per 100 workers, the Center for Strategic Regulation said in a report released Tuesday.
The SOC, a coalition of labor unions including the International Staff Brotherhood and the International Service Personnel Federation, analyzed data Amazon provided to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration about its warehouses in 2021.
Although Amazon has its sights set on improving workplace safety, including a pledge to become “the safest workplace on Earth,” injuries at its US warehouses have increased between 2020 and 2021.
Amazon reported nearly 38,300 total injuries at its US facilities in 2021, up about 20% from 27,100 in 2020. The vast majority of injuries in 2021 were classified as severe, or injuries “in which workers were so severely injured that they Either they couldn’t. They perform their normal jobs (light tasks) or are forced to miss work completely (time lost),” according to the report.
The report found that Amazon was responsible for a “staggering” amount of worker injuries in the United States. In 2021, Amazon accounted for nearly half of all infections in the industry, while it accounted for a third of all warehouse workers in the United States.
In a statement, Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel cited the company’s pandemic-induced hiring boom as one of the catalysts behind the increase in recordable infections between 2020 and 2021. Last year, Amazon’s recordable infection rate was down nearly 13% compared to Amazon’s recordable infection rate, Nantel added. in the year 2019.
“While we still have more work to do and will not be satisfied until we are excellent when it comes to safety, we continue to make measurable improvements in reducing injuries and keeping employees safe, and we value the work that all of our employees do and our safety,” Nantel said at Statement “Teams Contributing to This Effort”.
In January, Amazon revealed that it spent $300 million on worker safety improvements in 2021. It said the rate of employees who missed work due to a workplace injury fell 43% in 2020 from the previous year.
However, Amazon has faced pressure from lawmakers and its employees to address the rapid pace of work within its warehouses. Last fall, the California Senate passed a landmark bill aimed at limiting Amazon’s use of productivity quotas at its facilities.
Warehouse and delivery workers routinely spoke out against the company, saying that “customer obsession” and an emphasis on express delivery had created an unsafe work environment. They claimed that the pace of work did not allow for adequate rest and bath time.
These concerns have become more focused as union efforts intensify at Amazon warehouses. This month, Amazon workers on New York’s Staten Island voted to form the first Amazon warehouse union. The union called on Amazon to put “more reasonable” productivity rates in the warehouse, among other demands.
Last year, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos laid out a vision for improving workplace safety at the company, acknowledging that it needed “a better vision for the success of our employees.” Amazon has also launched a series of wellness programs, with the goal of reducing recordable accident rates by 50% by 2025.
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