Amazon driver Shawndu Stackhouse delivers packages in Northeast Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.
Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
Amazon’s supply operations are affected by an “escalating injury crisis,” pushed largely by punishing quotas and stress to ferry packages as rapidly as potential, in response to a brand new examine.
Nearly one in 5 drivers making deliveries for Amazon suffered accidents in 2021, a 40% improve from final yr’s damage charge, the Strategic Organizing Center stated in a report launched Tuesday.
The SOC, which is a coalition of labor unions together with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union, analyzed information submitted by Amazon and its supply companions to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 2021.
Amazon has more and more relied upon a fast-growing community of third-party supply firms to choose up packages at its warehouses and drop them at prospects’ doorsteps. The third-party supply firms are a part of Amazon’s supply service associate program, which was launched in 2018. In only a few years, this system has grown to incorporate greater than 2,000 DSPs within the U.S.
But as this system has expanded, Amazon has confronted some scrutiny from labor advocates, lawmakers and DSPs who argue the corporate fails to make sure driver security in its race to supply sooner and sooner supply. Delivery drivers have additionally complained that the corporate requires them to satisfy strict manufacturing quotas, which will increase the chance of damage on the job.
The SOC report discovered that contracted Amazon supply drivers endure accidents at almost two-and-a-half instances the speed of the non-Amazon supply trade. It additionally discovered that, in 2021, one in seven Amazon drivers sustained accidents that had been so extreme that they both can’t carry out their common job, or are compelled to overlook work altogether, the report states.
Amazon’s last-mile supply stations, the final hyperlink in Amazon’s achievement operations earlier than packages are delivered to prospects’ doorsteps, are additionally the “most dangerous” sort of Amazon facility, with damage charges greater than 40% larger than warehouses, the report says.
According to the report, Amazon’s “unmanageably high quotas” for supply drivers are a serious catalyst behind the excessive damage charges. It cites a class-action lawsuit filed by a Wyoming Amazon supply associate, which claimed the corporate anticipated drivers to ship about 350-400 packages per day per van. This quantities to drivers making one supply each 1 to 2 minutes, presuming they do not take any breaks, the report stated.
Amazon supply drivers generally endure accidents from journeys, slips and falls, strains, canine bites, car accidents and placing an object, corresponding to a fence put up, in response to the report, which cites information from Pinnacol Assurance, a employees’ compensation insurance coverage service in Colorado that analyzed Amazon DSP workforce claims in 2020.
In January, Amazon disclosed it spent $300 million on employee security enhancements in 2021. It stated the speed of workers who missed work as a consequence of office damage dropped by 43% in 2020 from the prior yr.
Earlier this yr, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy stated in his first letter to shareholders since taking the helm final July that Amazon’s damage charges had been “a little lower than the average of our courier and delivery peers.”
SOC researchers argue that declare is “misleading on multiple levels” as a result of it makes use of outdated information and excludes Amazon’s community of DSP drivers.
“Drivers hired by Amazon DSPs likely account for half of all Amazon delivery system workers in the U.S., yet the company does not include these drivers in its public reporting of injury rates,” the report states.
Amazon has instituted insurance policies and measures aimed toward bettering security amongst its supply driver workforce, corresponding to an app known as “Mentor.” Drivers are required to repeatedly run the app whereas they’re on the job, and it generates a every day rating of their driving efficiency. But drivers beforehand advised CNBC the app produces errors, leading to a decrease rating.
Last February, Amazon additionally started putting in AI-enabled cameras in supply vans to extend security.
Increasing surveillance of workers hasn’t helped to scale back damage charges amongst Amazon supply drivers, in response to the SOC. Injury charges for DSP drivers rose 38% from 2020 to 2021, “despite Amazon’s introduction of additional surveillance in early 2021,” the report states.
The SOC stated these methods improve the stress that drivers really feel to work at sooner speeds to satisfy their supply quotas.
“The real issue is Amazon’s sky-high production pressure and delivery quotas which push Amazon workers to work too fast and DSP drivers to risk injury as they rush to hit delivery targets,” in response to the report.
Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel disputed the examine’s findings. In 2020, Amazon noticed a rise in recordable accidents amongst its workforce because it went on a hiring spree through the coronavirus pandemic to maintain up with a surge in on-line orders, the corporate stated.
“This report cherry picks data from less than 10% of our delivery partners to tell an inaccurate and misleading story,” Nantel stated. “Safety is a priority across our network, which is why we’ve rolled out technology like innovative camera systems that have helped lead to an overall reduction in accident rates of nearly 50%, and we’ll keep investing in new safety tools to try and get better every day.”
WATCH: Amazon supply firms skip security checks to maintain up with quotas