Not surprisingly, warehouse workplace injuries are a frequent occurrence. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, freight, stock and material movers are second only to healthcare workers in the number of incident-related days away from work.
Many companies take steps to protect employees with stronger on-site safety protocols. But a recent report indicates this may not be the case at one of the country’s largest employers.
Amazon: A Question of Safety
The Strategic Organizing Center (SOC) is a coalition of four major labor unions that represent more than four million workers. In their published report, based on 2021 data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), SOC turned the spotlight on Amazon’s questionable safety record.
Incredibly, while Amazon employs only one-third of warehouse workers, they accounted for 49 percent of warehouse injuries. Total injuries amounted to nearly 40,000, which is a 20 percent jump over Amazon’s 2020 injury rate.
How do Amazon’s numbers compare to the rest of the industry? The overall rate of serious injuries is 3.3 per 100 workers, which is nearly doubled by Amazon’s rate of 6.8 injuries per 100 workers. In addition, Amazon’s general injury rate of 7.7 per 100 workers far surpasses the industry average of 4.0 injuries per 100 workers.
Carpal tunnel, back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders comprise the bulk of the injuries. These are usually caused by repetitive motions that put undue strain on workers’ bodies.
Ironically, Amazon has proudly proclaimed its goal to become “Earth’s Safest Place to Work.” Authors of the report point to Amazon’s rigid quotas and “obsession with speed” as primary factors contributing to Amazon’s poor safety record.
For their part, Amazon workers have been campaigning to unionize the facilities, driven in part by unacceptable working conditions. Another motivation? As workplace injuries were on the rise, so were company profits, by approximately the same rate.
Protect Employees from Warehouse Workplace Injuries
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