One in 10 Amazon warehouse workers get strains, sprains and tears on the job each year – and their risks DOUBLE during the holiday season, report finds
- The injury rate among Amazon workers between Black Friday and Christmas is 2.5 times higher than the weekly injury rate the rest of the year
- Nearly 89 percent of hurt workers had to miss work – an average of 5.5 weeks – or be placed on restricted duty
- In Hebron, Kentucky, the number of 911 calls to six facilities was at least double during the holiday season compared to the rest of the year
- Researchers say part of the reason is because the Amazon warehouse workforce doubles in November and December
As holiday shopping kicks into high gear, so does the risk that Amazon workers will be injured on the job.
Amazon warehouse employees are twice as likely to be hurt while working, according to a report from community advocacy groups released on Monday.
Between Black Friday and Christmas, sprains, strains, tears 7803187 One in 10 Amazon warehouse workers get strains, sprains and tears on the job each year – and their risks DOUBLE during the holiday season, report findsand other injuries increased before peaking in mid-December, when the injury rate is 2.5 times the typical weekly injury rate at Amazon.
The authors are now calling on the company to improve safety measurements, including reducing the speed of work required, sharing information on injury risks with employees and taking workers’ advice on how to have a safer work environment.
A new report found that the weekly rate of injuries for Amazon workers over the period between Black Friday and Christmas is 2.5 times higher than the weekly injury rate the rest of the year. Pictured: Workers pack and ship customer orders at the Amazon fulfillment center in Romeoville, Illinois, August 2017
The report, compiled by more than 40 groups, looked at four years of data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which sets and enforces safe workplace standards.
Workplace injuries that occur per week were examined at 28 Amazon facilities across 16 states.
Researchers found that, in 2018, nearly 11 out of every 100 employees were hurt on the job, which is three times the injury rate of employees working in the private sector.
These injuries were severe and not just scrapes or bruises. Nearly 89 percent of hurt workers had to miss work or be placed on restricted duty.
And they weren’t just out for a day or two. Amazon employees had to miss an average of five-and-a-half weeks to recover from their workplace injuries.
The team also found that 911 calls spike during the period between Black Friday and Christmas each year.
Between July 2017 and July 2019, at six facilities in the town of Hebron, Kentucky, anywhere from 11 to 13 emergency calls could be made in a week over the holiday period.
Usually, the number of 911 calls ranges from two to six per week.
Researchers note that the rise of worker injuries per week over the holidays is likely because the number of warehouse employees increases.
In 2016 and 2017, Amazon added 120,000 seasonal jobs, nearly doubling its warehouse workforce, reported USA TODAY.
The report’s authors are now calling on the tech giant to take steps to improve the safety of its workers.
This includes lowering quotas required to be filled by employees and allowing longer break times.
Amazon needs to ‘take meaningful action to eliminate hazards from its warehouses [and] provide workers with information about the risks they are being exposed to,’ said Deborah Axt, co-executive director of the immigrant advocacy group Make the Road New York, said in a press release.
In a statement, Amazon did not say the findings were untrue, but said the report was ‘developed and promoted by a collection of self-interested critics.’
‘The fact is nothing is more important to us than safety – last year we provided more than one million hours of safety training to employees and invested more than $55 million on safety improvement projects, including ergonomic improvements,’ the company said.