Amazon warehouse workers and delivery drivers are injured far more often on the job than employees of competitors like Walmart and UPS, according to a new study.
In 2020, 5.9 out of every 100 Amazon warehouse workers were victims of “serious injuries” that required them to either miss work or be placed on light duty. By comparison, that figure was 2.6 for Amazon competitor Walmart and 4.0 for warehouse workers overall, according to the report by the Strategic Organizing Center.
In total, workers at the Jeff Bezos-run company logged more than 27,000 injuries last year, according to the report, which used OSHA data.
“Amazon’s obsession with speed has come at a huge cost to its workers,” wrote the Strategic Organizing Center, which is a coalition of large labor unions including the Service Employees International Union and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. “It’s time to hold Amazon accountable for the dangerous working conditions it has created and continues to ignore.”
Amazon workers have spoken up about workplace injury rates for years. In 2019, over a hundred Staten Island Amazon warehouse workers protested the company’s workplace conditions, accusing Amazon of treating workplace safety as a “secondary concern.” Injury rates were also a key issue for organizers of the failed 2021 union drive at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama.
And it’s not just Amazon’s warehouse workers who are injured abnormally frequently. Last year, 9.7 out of every 100 “last mile” delivery drivers for Amazon were seriously injured on the job, compared to 6.5 out of 100 for similar workers at logistics competitor UPS.
Under tight deadlines and quotas, some Amazon delivery drivers have taken to urinating in bottles inside their vehicles.
Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel did not dispute the report’s conclusions but said that the company was taking steps to reduce worker injuries.
“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,” she told the Post.
The report comes after Amazon reported a record $8.1 billion profit during the first three months of 2021, buoyed by online shopping during the pandemic.
Also on Tuesday, the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post published a separate analysis of Amazon OSHA reports, also finding a rate of 5.9 serious injuries per 100 warehouse workers.