Amazon’s warehouses with robots, which the corporate has claimed would assist scale back employee accidents, even have larger damage charges than warehouses with out automation, in accordance with inner Amazon data obtained by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. The beautiful reality comes as a part of a broader report investigating rising damage charges at Amazon warehouses throughout the nation.
Amazon’s warehouse robots are apparently so environment friendly that quotas have elevated considerably, requiring staff to do repetitive motions over lengthy shifts that may ultimately result in accidents. For instance, staff who seize and scan gadgets had their quotas enhance from about 100 gadgets an hour to 400 gadgets an hour within the automated warehouses, in accordance with the report. The rise in damage charges suggests automation may really be making a extra harmful surroundings for the employees, regardless of hopes that robots would tackle essentially the most harmful duties.
Amazon piloted particular measures really useful by the Occupational Security and Well being Administration (OSHA) to assist scale back damage threat, comparable to an additional relaxation break or rotating staff to different jobs in the course of the day. However the measures haven’t been broadly applied, and Reveal’s paperwork point out that damage charges have continued to rise.
Amazon, in a press release to Reveal, stated that “using robotics, automation and expertise in our achievement facilities is enhancing our office, making jobs safer and extra environment friendly.”
The report exhibits unusually excessive charges of damage throughout the board, even in contrast with equal warehouses run by different corporations. Amazon warehouses counted 14,000 critical accidents in 2019 (which means accidents that require days off or job restrictions), and “the general fee of seven.7 critical accidents per 100 staff was 33% larger than in 2016 and almost double the latest trade customary,” in accordance with the report.
And damage charges spiked throughout Amazon’s Prime Day and Cyber Monday gross sales extravaganzas, with the weeks surrounding them having “the very best fee of great accidents for all of 2019,” Reveal reported.
Reveal has additionally put collectively a site the place you may browse the damage charges of greater than 150 Amazon warehouses from 2016 by 2019, pulled from inner Amazon data. Two websites — one in DuPont, WA and one in Eastvale, CA — reported greater than 16 critical accidents per 100 staff in 2019, quadruple the trade common from 2018.
Reveal’s report follows an investigation from November claiming that Amazon tried to dodge office security regulators for years. And Amazon’s warehouse security practices have come underneath explicit scrutiny this yr as staff have continued to workers the warehouses in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eight recognized staff have died from COVID-19, and Amazon has declined to say what number of warehouse staff have contracted or died from the illness.
Amazon has not responded to an inquiry from The Verge in regards to the claims raised in Reveal’s article.