Amazon Workers Seriously Injured at Twice the Rate of Other Warehouses, Study Finds


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Injuries at Amazon warehouses jumped last year, according to a study published Tuesday by union coalition the Strategic Organizing Center. Injury reports at Amazon warehouses exceeded 38,000 in 2021, an increase of more than 20% over the previous year, according to the study. Of the recorded injuries, more than 89%, or roughly 34,000, were classified as “serious” injuries that left employees either unable to perform their regular job functions or forced them to miss work entirely. 

The SOC, a coalition of four labor unions including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Communications Workers of America, said its study is based on data submitted by Amazon to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  

In 2021, the rate of serious injuries per 100 employees was 6.8, more than twice the average rate of serious injuries at non-Amazon warehouses (3.3 per 100), according to the study. 

The figures come at a time when Amazon’s working conditions are under increased scrutiny. The company has faced allegations of, among other things, faulty emergency procedures, insufficient precautions around COVID-19 and inadequate bathroom breaks for workers. Employees in Staten Island, New York, recently voted to become the first unionized Amazon warehouse, though the company has since called for a revote, alleging that low worker turnout and possible voter suppression contributed to the results.

In response to the study, Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said the increase in injuries is due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company “hired tens of thousands of additional people to help us meet the unforeseen demand,” which “like other companies in the industry,” led to an increase in recordable injuries, Nantel said. 

Nantel also said recordable injuries saw a decline of 13% from pre-pandemic working conditions in 2019, but notes that the company still has more work to do and “won’t be satisfied until we are excellent when it comes to safety.”

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