Half of the injuries reported by warehouse workers in the United States took place at Amazon locations. The data extracted from the Strategic Organizing Center report refers to 2021 and is based on the values communicated by the company to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): 38,334 injuries, + 20% compared to the previous year, 49% of the total registered within the country. And what is worrying is the serious injury rate, 6.8% versus 3.3% for non-Amazon workers.
The industrial athletes, as Amazon itself called them, they get more injured if they work in automated warehouses. The issue has been known for some time, and the reason is due to the high pace that human employees have to undergo to keep up with the frenetic pace of robots. Amazon attributes this increase in cases to the 2021 hiring record: the more new warehouse workers are – and the more inexperienced they are – the easier it is for the number of injuries to grow, says the company.
Like other companies in the industry, we have seen an increase in recordable injuries in this period from 2020 to 2021 because we had trained so many new people. However, when we compare 2021 with 2019, our recordable injury rate has decreased by more than 13% year-on-year.
The new hires to cope with the rapidly growing demand of the pandemic period have exposed even more clearly the employees who, in order to achieve the objectives required by the company, had to significantly increase the speed of operations. OSHA itself would have explicitly referred to the “very high work rate“talking about warehouse injuries, as well as the automated monitoring software that Amazon uses to determine the free time of its workers and which would not be effective or ethically correct.
The property would have already moved to contain the number of injuries, but rumors report strategies that do not seem to go in the direction of protecting workers: Bezos, specifically, would have requested in the past the generation of an algorithm through which the managers can precisely define a shifts of the warehouse workers by making them perform different tasks throughout the day so as to tire different muscles.