Amazon created nearly 130,000 jobs this past year and employs 560,000 workers worldwide. This unique online company is one of the fastest growing corporations in the world and is described as the most valuable retailer. Bloomberg Billionaires Index labels Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, as the world’s richest man, valued at over $150 billion dollars.
Although this company is a huge success, it doesn’t exist without controversy and scrutiny. According to the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, Amazon is listed in the “dirty dozen” as one of the most dangerous places to work. “Seven workers killed at Amazon warehouses since 2013 – including three workers within five weeks at three separate locations in 2017,” reports the council.
In addition to being listed in the “dirty dozen,” there have been multiple complaints from workers that have been injured while at Amazon. The Guardian conducted an investigation that revealed cases of workers suffering from workplace accidents in the warehouse system, and many are being treated very poorly and left unable to work — some even homeless.
One example is Vickie Shannon Allen, 49, a counter worker in the Amazon warehouse in Haslet, Texas. In October of 2017, she injured her back while counting goods at a workstation that was missing the safety brush guard. Amazon basically sent her away each day, without pay, and told her to use a heating pad. She eventually returned to work and was injured again at the same workstation where the brush guard had still not been fixed. It took 8 months for them to fix this situation. She is still arguing with Amazon about her pay, and they have offered her very little according to her.
Amazon spokesperson Melanie Etches states that, “Operational meetings, new hire orientation, process training and new process development begin with safety and have safety metrics and audits integrated within each program…While any serious incident is one too many, we learn and improve our programs working to prevent future incidents.”
For further reading on workers’ compensation in today’s work environment, read our blog.