Nearly two years after Jeff Bezos said Amazon would spend to improve workplace safety, a coalition of labor unions claims the company was responsible for 53 percent of all serious warehouse injuries recorded in the US last year. In a (PDF link), the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC) said data collected by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) shows Amazon warehouse workers continue to suffer injuries more frequently than their non-Amazon counterparts. It also claims those injuries were often more severe.
In 2022, Amazon reported a total of 38,609 recordable injuries. Per the SOC, those are incidents that require a worker to either take time off from their regular job or seek medical treatment beyond first aid. Of those injuries, 95 percent were those the organization considers serious either because Amazon had to temporarily reassign the worker to a less strenuous role or give them time off to recover.
After crunching the data, the SOC found Amazon’s total injury rate in 2022 was 6.9 injuries per 100 workers. Comparatively, that’s a better rate than the 7.9 injuries per 100 workers the company recorded last year, and the staggering nine injuries per 100 workers the SOC says Amazon managed in 2019, but the organization contends the data shows Amazon “failed to make meaningful progress on worker safety.” Specifically, the SOC points to the rate at which Amazon workers suffered “serious” injuries. At 6.6 per 100 workers, the organization says Amazon’s 2022 serious injury rate is 12 percent higher than the one the company recorded in 2020 and more than double the rate seen at non-Amazon warehouses last year.
Put another way, the SOC claims more than half of all serious US warehouse injuries in 2022 occured at Amazon, despite the company only employing 36 percent of all US warehouse workers last year. “For a corporation that prides itself on moving quickly and decisively informed by sophisticated data analysis, Amazon’s ongoing failure to provide safe working conditions raises major questions about whether the company’s management is serious about becoming ‘earth’s safest place to work,’ or whether it continues to put profits before the safety of the very people responsible for its success,” the report states.
Amazon disputes the Strategic Organizing Center’s interpretation of the data it shared with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Specifically, it takes issue with SOC’s use of “serious injury rate,” noting it’s not an official OSHA metric. The agency does track when a workplace injury requires a worker to either change roles or take time off. However, Amazon contends that metric – known as DART or “days away, restricted, or transferred rates” – is not shorthand for a serious injury. It claims DART metrics often incorporate “relatively minor” injuries. Instead, the company says critics should look at its recordable injuries and how long workers have taken off to recover from workplace incidents. When you look at those numbers, Amazon says the it has made significant progress in recent years.
“The safety and health of our employees is, and always will be, our top priority, and any claim otherwise is inaccurate. It’s unsurprising that a self-interested group like this would work to twist the facts to paint an inaccurate picture. While we know we have more work to do, the truth is clearly outlined in and we encourage anyone to both tour our facilities and read our safety report,” Amazon spokesperson Kelly Natel told Engadget. “That report shows that since 2019, the recordable injury rate across our network has dropped more than 23 percent and the lost time injury rate has dropped more than 53 percent. We’re proud the progress made by our team and we’ll continue working hard together to keep getting better every day.”
This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/amazon-was-responsible-for-more-than-half-of-all-serious-us-warehouse-injuries-last-year-report-finds-191753314.html?src=rss
Brought to you by USA Today Read the rest of the article here.