Last year, the Center for Investigative Reporting released a troubling study on Amazon warehouses. The organization looked at a representative sample of the massive brand’s fulfillment centers and found a rate of serious injuries exceeding 200% of the industry average.
Learn more about the safety issues you or a loved one may face as an Amazon worker.
Warehouse injury facts
The study reviewed serious injury data from 2018 from 23 Amazon fulfillment centers in the U.S. At these facilities, employees experienced debilitating work-related injuries at a rate of 9.6 per 100, defined as any injury requiring time off work or restricted duty.
By contrast, the U.S. warehouse industry as a whole has an annual average of just 4 serious injuries per 100 workers. Some Amazon centers had serious injury rates of up to 16 per 100 warehouse employees.
The CIR cites the need for speed when explaining why injury rates at Amazon are so high. Warehouse workers must fill a quota that requires them to bend, stretch and lift heavy items almost constantly. Failure to meet the goals will result in dismissal for individuals who may already struggle to make ends meet.
Employees surveyed by CIR reported that Amazon supervisors required them to return to jobs that caused their injuries. They also said supervisors often refused restricted duty even when recommended by the health care provider.
The organization’s research also uncovered serious health hazards, such as gas leaks, at several Amazon facilities. Often, these hazards did not result in a work stoppage at the affected warehouse, even when employees were risking their health.
Florida workers who experience a workplace injury or illness can apply for workers’ compensation benefits. These payments cover medical bills, lost wages, permanent disability and other costs associated with this type of injury.