In response to Amazon’s announcement Thursday about workplace injuries, Strategic Organizing Center Health and Safety Director Eric Frumin and Tulsa, Oklahoma Amazon worker Bobby Gosvenor released the following statements.
Eric Frumin, director, health and safety, Strategic Organizing Center
“Amazon executives have known about the company’s serious injury problem for years, and have done nothing to fix it, allowing tens of thousands of additional workers to be injured. Now, after getting some bad press last week, the company wants us to believe that it has seen the light and will change its ways. No one should trust a corporation with such a terrible track record to reform itself.
“Despite years of the highest injury rates in the entire logistics industry, Amazon has continued to pressure workers to work faster, which the data suggests leads to more injuries. And in the last few weeks, as Amazon was confronted with overwhelming evidence of the injury crisis, the company chose a PR blitz about Zen meditation rooms rather than real, substantive change to prevent injuries.
“OSHA has now found Amazon to be violating the OSHAct at the most dangerous Amazon warehouse in the nation, in part because of the “very high pace of work.” OSHA determined there is a “direct connection between Amazon’s employee monitoring and discipline systems and workplace [injuries]” – an unprecedented finding in OSHA’s history, which Amazon is appealing and seeking to delay.
“We call on Amazon to immediately guarantee that no warehouse or delivery employee will be disciplined for taking breaks needed to prevent an injury. We also call on Amazon to immediately drop its appeal of OSHA’s orders to prevent injuries. And we call on Amazon to agree to both stop its abusive discipline system everywhere — and install the essential and simple equipment needed to reduce or eliminate dangerous workloads in all warehouse jobs.”
Bobby Gosvenor, Amazon Worker, Tulsa Oklahoma. Bobby sustained a herniated disc in his neck while working at Amazon that required surgery.
“I was one of more than 24,000 Amazon workers to sustain a serious injury in 2020. Executives know there is a problem with safety, but the focus on growth and profits has come at the expense of those of us who help make those profits possible. So excuse me if I’m skeptical about the company’s latest announcement. Workers have been raising the alarm about safety at Amazon for years, and nothing has changed. They’ve told us to meditate, get massages and change our diet, but so far, the company has refused to take real steps to keep us safe. Amazon will not become ‘Earth’s Safest Place to Work’ without some major changes. These should start with valuing the safety and health of the people who do the work over profits.”
Amazon’s announcement comes the week after a report released by the Strategic Organizing Center showed workers at Amazon facilities sustained more than 24,000 serious injuries in 2020, resulting in a serious injury rate nearly two times the non-Amazon warehousing and storage industry. The report, which analyzes new data submitted by Amazon to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), examines a four-year period through 2020, and shows that even as Amazon faced growing public scrutiny of its safety record, its workers were injured at substantially higher rates than non-Amazon workers in the same industries.