Since 2014, Amazon has been advertising the effectiveness and safety of its new automated warehouses, where robots assist employees in the packaging process. However, it seems that automation brings a lot of damage at the same time, literally, because it is about a high accident rate among employees, which is much higher than the company presents it in its reports. According to the report for 2016-2019 published on the web, there were 50% more serious accidents in such centers than in traditional ones. For example, one such warehouse, BFI3, located south of Amazon's Seattle headquarters, had 22 serious accidents per 100 employees last year.
This is about five times the industry standard and above the Amazon average, all reportedly due to the unrealistic expectations placed on the human workers employed there. An example is often given here people whose duty is to scan products - until recently technology news had to scan 100 products per hour, and now Amazon is expected to scan 400 products at the same time, so they are usually unable to keep up with robots, as leads to accidents.
What's more, as revealed by the Reveal magazine, Amazon is very slow to respond or completely ignores the voices of regulators, because in 2015, for example, it was encouraged by the Occupational Saftey and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure employee rotation in one shift in order to avoid injuries related to constant stress, but still not introduced the appropriate solutions. Of course, the number of accidents is also increasing in hot periods such as Christmas or Prime Day, and it is increasing every year. What about Amazon? The company representative first limited himself to saying that "the use of robots, automation and technology in warehouses improves the workplace, makes it safer and more efficient."
Later, in response to an inquiry from Engadget, he decided to make a longer statement: - We strongly disagree with the fact that we have misled anyone. We're known to be obsessed with customers - but we're also obsessed with our employees and their safety. Reveal is misinformed and driven by a sense of activism rather than journalism. The journalist misinterprets the data, and all the internal documents he claims to have obtained ultimately only confirm one thing - our deep interest in employee safety. As a company, we are constantly learning and developing from past experiences, as well as focusing on programs to create a safer work environment and provide appropriate health benefits from the first day of work - we read in it. And who to believe? As an employer, Amazon certainly does not enjoy the best opinion, and such reports only make it worse, so we will certainly see the rest of this case.