According to the study, the injury rate at Amazon’s warehouse last year was more than double that of other warehouses.

Amazon employed 33% of all U.S. warehouse workers but accounted for 49% of all injuries in the industry, according to a report released Tuesday by the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC), a coalition of four unions.

SOC, which includes the International Union of Service Workers, the International Brotherhood of Drivers, the Communications Workers of America, and the United Farm Workers of America, analyzed 2021 injury data that Amazon submitted to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the Department of Labor.

There were 38,334 reported injuries at Amazon locations in 2021, of which about 34,000 were considered serious injuries when workers were no longer able to perform their normal jobs or were forced to miss work as a result.

According to the report, Amazon reported 6.8 serious injuries for every 100 of its warehouse workers. By comparison, other warehouses reported 3.3 serious injuries for every 100 workers, the report said. Injury rates are calculated as cumulative rates at individual locations.

The SOC report comes amid increased attention to working conditions at Amazon enterprises. Earlier this month, Amazon warehouse workers in New York became the first in the nation to unionize in its 27-year history. The union movement was fueled by tensions between Amazon and its warehouse workers during an unprecedented public health crisis, with some activist workers and labor advocates voicing concern that the company is putting profit and productivity ahead of safety.
Meanwhile, Amazon’s attitude to workplace safety is under the microscope in its home state of Washington, where the Department of Labor and Industry last month published a rare “deliberately harsh” reference and a $60,000 fine for Amazon for knowingly exposing its workers to the risk of serious injury in violation of workplace safety laws. Amazon said it strongly disagrees with the claims and plans to appeal.
The latest SOC report follows the June 2021 report from same group who studied similar data from 2017 to 2020 and also found that Amazon warehouses are more dangerous than other facilities.

The new report, which notes that the injury rate in the company’s robotic warehouses remains higher than in non-robotic warehouses, notes a marked decrease in injuries in 2020 compared to the previous year. The report notes that Amazon temporarily made it easier to track performance in the early months of the pandemic as a possible contribution.

In a statement regarding the SOC report, Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said the company has hired “tens of thousands of additional people to help us meet unexpected demand due to Covid-19.”

“Like other companies in the industry, we have seen an increase in reported injuries over this period from 2020 to 2021 as we have trained so many new people, however, when comparing 2021 and 2019, our reported injury rate has decreased by more than 13% by compared to last year. years,” said Nantel.

The SOC report shows that last year’s injury rate is the second highest in the company’s last five years, with 2019 recording the highest rate.

“While we still have a lot of work to do and we will not be satisfied until we achieve excellence in safety matters, we continue to make tangible improvements in reducing injuries and ensuring the safety of employees, and also value the work of all our employees and safety. teams that are contributing to these efforts,” said Nantel.

A year ago, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced his desire to make Amazon “the safest place to work on Earth”. Amazon last year announced it will spend $300 million for safety-related projects, including the rollout of an initiative called WorkingWell to provide “physical and mental activity, healthful exercise, and healthy eating support that are scientifically proven to help them recharge and rejuvenate and ultimately , reduce the risk of injury. The company said that WorkingWell will help achieve its goal. halve the reported injury rate by 2025.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassi demanding documents on the company’s labor practices after six employees were killed while working at a tornado-hit distribution center in Illinois in December. OSHA is also investigating deaths at the facility, and a family is suing the company.

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