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Amazon Responds to Criticism for High Injury Rates

The world's largest online retailer responded to a recent report citing higher-than-average warehouse injury rates.

 Amazon has responded to continued scrutiny regarding the online retailer's workplace safety practices following a report from The Center for Investigative Reporting.

The report stated the company's injury rate is double the national average for the warehousing industry at 9.6 serious injuries per 100 full-time workers in 2018. The industry average is 4.

“According to Amazon’s own records, the risk of work injuries at fulfillment centers is alarmingly, unacceptably high,” said David Michaels, former head of OSHA, told The Center for Investigative Reporting. “Amazon needs to take a hard look at the facilities where so many workers are being hurt and either redesign the work processes, replace the top managers or both because serious injury rates this high should not be acceptable to any employer.”

A company representative replied to a request for comment about recording injuries and workplace safety.

"It’s inaccurate to say that Amazon fulfillment centers are unsafe and efforts to paint our workplace as such based solely on a snapshot of injury recordings is misleading given the size of our workforce. We believe so strongly in the environment that we offer for fulfillment center employees, including our safety culture, that we offer public tours where anyone can come for themselves one of our sites firsthand," the Amazon spokesperson said. "Ensuring the safety of associates in our building is our number one priority and we invest heavily in safety."

The representative added that operational meetings, new hire orientation, process training and new process development begin with safety and have safety metrics and audits integrated within each Amazon program.

"Safety training is constant, both in making sure employees know how best to work with the technology in the facility and also how to prevent injuries," the spokesperson continued. "There’s a dramatic level of under-recording of safety incidents across the industry – we recognized this in 2016 and began to take an aggressive stance on recording injuries no matter how big or small which can result in elevated recordable rates and makes comparisons difficult."

 

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