AP Business

Amazon worker injuries dip last year, but higher than 2020

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon’s total injury rate for warehouse workers took a dip last year, but injuries were still worse than they were in 2020, according to an analysis released Wednesday by a coalition of labor unions.

The report, which was compiled by the Strategic Organizing Center and examines data Amazon has submitted to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said the company’s injury rate was 6.9% in 2022, compared to 7.9% the year before. In 2020, that number was 6.6%.

The findings mirror a similar report Amazon released this year, showing the same injury rate for its warehouses, as well as a recordable injury rate of 6.7% across its U.S. operations, compared to 7.6% in 2021.

Injuries at Amazon have typically been higher compared to its peers in the industry, which critics and labor safety experts blame on the company’s fast-paced warehouses that track productivity and allow customers to get their packages quickly. The report released Wednesday said Amazon’s injury rate was 70% higher in 2022 compared to non-Amazon warehouses.

The retail gaint has acknowledged the problem and has said its trying to improve it. But that hasn’t stopped probes into the issue from federal safety regulators who’ve citied several Amazon warehouses in the past few months for putting workers at risk or failing to record injuries in some warehouses. Those citations were made by OSHA, which opened inspections into facilities last summer after receiving referrals from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

The study showed slight improvements in the company’s serious injury rate – 6.6 per 100 workers in 2022, compared to 6.8 in 2021. But it also noted Amazon accounted for more than half of all serious injuries in the industry despite only employing 36% of warehouse workers in the country.

The group calculates serious injury rates as days away from work, job restrictions or transfers due to injuries – otherwise known as “DART” rates. Amazon says that’s misleading because DART captures any injury that could lead to an employee taking time away from work.

“The safety and health of our employees is, and always will be, our top priority, and any claim otherwise is inaccurate,” said Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel. “It’s unsurprising that a self-interested group like this would work to twist the facts to paint an inaccurate picture.”

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