- Amazon workers "experience harmful working conditions and a workplace culture that prioritizes line speeds over human safety" according to a report from an employee advocacy group, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH).
- After speaking with 145 employees from a Staten Island fulfillment center, the group described how workers are disciplined for spending too much time "off task." Eighty percent of the workers said they've been pressured to work harder or faster. Sixty-six percent said they experienced physical pain while performing their job duties and nearly half (42%) continued to experience pain outside work. Ergonomic issues were among the most common complaints, the report said.
- The group called for changes: "If Amazon cares about the safety of their workers, [it] must prioritize creating a workplace culture that puts health and safety at the forefront."
Amazon has long faced criticism for its working environments, with claims ranging from denied bathroom breaks to a "kangaroo court" for employees facing separation. The employer, however, has continually denied such allegations; employee 'ambassadors' have done so, too.
The most recent allegations are no exception. In a statement provided to HR Dive's sister site, Supply Chain Dive, Amazon said NYCOSH is "focused on generating false narratives in an effort to create interest and potential revenue for the unions they serve." Moreover, said Amazon, the report "includes a biased and unreliable survey which supposedly surveyed less than 3% of our Staten Island workforce" and that the company provides a safe working environment.
Still, the claims provide a reminder for employers to keep overuse injury prevention top of mind. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers resources on ergonomics and the prevention of musculoskeletal injuries. The agency recommends, among other things, that employers provide training for employees, teaching them how to prevent injuries and about the importance of reporting symptoms early.