According to a new report, Amazon is about 50% likely to be responsible for warehouse workers who were injured on the job in 2021.
Amazon employed only 33% of warehouse workers in 2021, but it was responsible to 49% of all warehouse injuries that same year, according an alarming study. new report fromThe Strategic Organizing Center, a coalition of four major labor unions. The report analyzes data from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Overall, workers sustained nearly 40,000 injuries at Amazon facilities last year, representing a huge jump from the previous year; from 2020 to 2021, Amazon’s injury rate increased by 20 percent.
Despite promises to become “Earth’s Safest Place to Work,” the company has shown to be quite the opposite. As SOC’s report and other analyses have found, Amazon’s Serious injury rateThis is significantly higher than in other companies. Serious injuries are those that result in the worker being unable to work or being re-assigned to less strenuous jobs.
In 2021, the company’s serious injury rate was 6.8 per 100 full-time equivalent workers, the new report found. This is more than twice the serious injury rate for other warehouses, which average 3.3 per 100 employees. With 7.7 injuries of any type per 100 Amazon workers filed with OSHA last year, Amazon’s workers suffered injuries at a far higher rate than those in the rest of the industry, who experienced 4.0 injuries per 100 workers.
The report’s authors say that the reason for Amazon’s high injury rate is the company’s strict quotas and “obsession with speed,” which it monitors using invasive surveillance systems that track workers’ every move. The company encourages injured workers to continue working even if it will prolong the injury or make the injury worse.
Musculoskeletal conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or back pain are commonAmazon workers were the subject of investigations. Repetitive, strenuous movements place strain on workers’ bodies, and symptoms often linger long afterThe initial injury.
The company’s policies appear to have a direct influence on its injury rate. While the rate increased each year between 2017 and 2019, from 7.5 injuries to 9.0 per 100 workers, the rate dropped to 6.6 injuries per 100 workers in 2020 — the same year that the company temporarily lightened its quotas in response to the pandemic. Although the policies were only in place for a few months, it was long enough to have a tangible impact on the company’s injury rate.
To distract from their poor injury rates — and Washington state OSHA investigations into the Seattle-based company that have found wrongdoing — Amazon said last year that it would be spending millions on increasing safety and that it would halve the injury rate within the next five years. The injury rate rose in the same year as Amazon made this promise.
“The facts show that for all of its public relations efforts, Amazon is not doing enough to keep workers safe,” SOC authors wrote. “Amazon could choose to slow the pace of work or ease the pressures of its oppressive monitoring systems. But after doing so in 2020 to accommodate pandemic safety precautions, the company largely returned to its old systems of surveillance and pressure in 2021 — as reflected in the injury data.”
Amazon warehouse workers have been organizing union campaigns partly because of the working conditions in their facilities. Alabama workers in Bessemer are organizing with the Retail, Warehouse and Department Store Union, Amazon Labor UnionIt was recently published by. won a unionNew Yorkers have made it clear that improving working conditions is a central pillar of their campaigns. The report from BHM1, an Alabama unionizing facility, found that serious injuries rose by a staggering 43 percent last year.
SOC noted in its report that the company can afford lowering its quotas. While its policies appeared to push workers to injury, the company’s profits grew by 50 percent from 2020 to 2021, from $21.3 billion to $33.4 billion; meanwhile, Amazon chairman Jeff Bezos More than $52 billion in gainsDuring the pandemic, the net worth was only 0.