Amazon has been accused of systematically minimising the amount of injuries reported at its warehouses across the US in yet another damning report into working conditions.
Despite Amazon’s repeated denial of any issues regarding worker safety at its warehouses, alongside a well-funded TV advertising campaign and fulfilment centre tour initiative to hammer home the point, it seems unable to prevent yet more reports to the contrary emerging.
This week a joint report from The Atlantic and Reveal from the Centre for Investigative Reporting made some of the most serious allegations yet, cataloguing a series of safety failings across fulfilment centres in the US and subsequent attempts to minimise liability for inujuries and even the death of a worker.
The lengthy report says Amazon’s focus on speed has “turned its warehouses into injury mills”, with “serious injuries” reported in its own records twice the national average and more than four times in some locations.
It goes on to state that the introduction of robots increased the amount of injuries, and that the rush to implement them meant safety training was often glossed over.
Amazon said this was because it is “aggressive about recording worker injuries”, records designed to keep companies accountable for their safety culture.
However, three former safety managers said in the report that Amazon “had a policy for systematically hiding injuries”, with one alleging that “higher-ups instructed him to come up with justifications for not recording injuries”.
Amazon denies this policy ever existed.
Most significantly, the report details safety investigator John Stallone’s account of being instructed by the retailer to manipulate a report into the death of a colleague to shift the blame away from Amazon.
Stallone states that he believes the worker had not been provided with sufficient safety training, but that he was instructed by Amazon officials and Indiana’s Labour Commissioner to back off the case to avoid hurting Indiana’s chances of being chosen for Amazon’s second headquarters.
Amazon told TechCrunch that it worked directly with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on the inspection and worked to provide “training records” of the deceased.