Fresh from last night’s Panorama exposé, that claimed Amazon tracks virtually every move consumers make, it seems the online giant is not quite so good at keeping tabs on its own staff with an investigation revealing that over 660 workers have been injured or seriously hurt in accidents in Amazon warehouses in the UK alone.
According to a Freedom of Information request by the GMB Union, there were 240 reports of incidents or near misses at Amazon warehouses over the past 12 months, with 662 cases reported over the past three years.
Amazon’s record is a far cry from the workplace fun and laughter that is portrayed in the company’s latest TV ad campaign, which features happy warehouse staff and urges consumers to take a tour to sample the joys of Amazon for themselves.
For injuries to be included in the figures they need to be serious enough to stop a worker performing their normal duties for at least seven days, or be on a list including fractures, amputation, crushing, scalping or burning.
In one London warehouse a worker lost consciousness and appeared to stop breathing after injuring their head, the GMB said. In Manchester, one worker got caught in a gate and fractured their hand.
The data shows reports to the Health & Safety Executive have increased every year, from 152 in the 2017 financial year to 240 in 2019.
GMB national officer Mick Rix said: “Amazon are spending millions on PR campaigns trying to persuade people its warehouses are great places to work. But the facts are there for all to see – things are getting worse.
“Hundreds of stricken Amazon workers are needing urgent medical attention. Conditions are hellish. We’ve tried over and over again to get Amazon to talk to us to try and improve safety for workers. But enough is enough – it’s now time for a full parliamentary inquiry.”
A spokesman for Amazon said: “Amazon is a safe place to work. Yet again, our critics seem determined to paint a false picture of what it’s like to work for Amazon. They repeat the same sensationalised allegations time and time again.
“Our doors are open to the public, to politicians, and indeed to anyone who truly wants to see the modern, innovate and, most importantly, safe environment we provide to our people.”