A report from Reveal, the outlet for the Center of Investigative Journalism, has revealed that Amazon’s domestic warehouses saw 14,000 serious injuries in 2019, a 33% increase from 2016. Amazon’s 2019 injury rate is double that of the rest of the logistics industry. The data for the report came from a whistleblower who handed over internal injury data.
(For the purposes of the study, “serious injury” was defined as an injury that requires a worker to make changes to their job or take time off work entirely.)
Amazon’s injury rate per 100 workers has increased every year since 2016. Injuries reached a peak during the busy season prior to Christmas, as well as on Cyber Monday and Prime Day. Notably, the injury rate was higher on average in warehouses equipped with robots. From 2016 to 2019, the injury rate for robot-equipped warehouses was 50% higher on average.
This data sheds doubt on Amazon’s typically optimistic messaging about warehouse safety. Just last year, Amazon CEO of Consumer Business Jeff Wilke told PBS Frontline that robots “make the job safer.” Amazon also responded to an earlier Business Insider article by asserting that “recordable incidents do not increase during [the holiday season].”
However, the use of robots led to higher production quotas, which strained workers further and increased the injury rate. One worker said that after the introduction of robots, worker quotas jumped from 100 items an hour to 400 items an hour. Reveal data also shows that the weeks of Prime Day and Cyber Monday in 2019 had the highest injury rates for that year.
“The stats prove what everybody knew — Amazon, quite literally, will break your back just to continue to push workers beyond what’s humanly possible,” said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of the UNI Global union.
Read the full report here.
Workplace Injuries Are Always the Employer’s Responsibility
The use of robots to justify unsafe quotas is a textbook example of the kind of injustice Arnold & Itkin fights on a daily basis. Our most serious work injury cases, from the Deepwater Horizon disaster to the Geismar plant explosion, were caused by company higher-ups who valued speed and hitting quotas over the lives of their workers. Every warehouse worker who gets injured deserves to be compensated by their employer for their medical care, lost wages, and more.
Our warehouse injury attorneys have won billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients, helping them rebuild their lives and provide for their families. If you were injured in a warehouse accident due to your employer’s negligence, speak with us to learn your options.
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