Skip to main content

Report: workers delivering Amazon’s packages are injured at a ‘shocking rate’

Operators blame intense quotas and pressure. | Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Some workers delivering packages for Amazon were more than twice as likely to be injured on the job compared to non-Amazon delivery workers, according to a report from the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC) advocacy group (via CNBC). The union coalition compiled data submitted to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) by Amazon and its contractors and discovered that an estimated 18.3 percent of Amazon’s subcontracted delivery workers were injured seriously enough to be reported.

As the report notes, Amazon deliveries aren’t made entirely by workers that the company directly employs. The SOC says that a large portion of packages are delivered by people working for a Delivery Service Partner (DSP), or a company that contracts with Amazon to make deliveries in a certain area. Amazon also has workers that it directly contracts through its Flex system (where gig workers sign up to deliver packages) and has direct employees that work at its delivery stations and sortation centers.

 Graph: SOC
A graph showing DSP injury rates versus the rest of Amazon’s delivery system and the non-Amazon delivery industry.

According to the report, workers for DSPs are injured at significantly higher rates than Amazon’s own workers, who themselves get injured more than delivery workers for non-Amazon companies. The SOC says that, in 2021, 10.6 out of every 100 DSP workers were injured badly enough that they had to take time off work. And 3.6 out of every 100 DSP workers had injuries that required they be put on light duty. Those injuries can be caused by things like trips, falls, dog bites, strains from repetitive twisting, and car accidents, according to the report, which cites data from a Colorado workers’ compensation insurer.

For the same year, Amazon delivery system workers outside of the DSP program had significantly lower injury rates: 4.7 out of 100 workers for time off and 2.9 out of 100 workers for reduced work. Non-DSP workers also had a rate of 0.9 for “other” injuries — DSP workers had 4.1. Delivery workers not affiliated with Amazon had even lower rates: 4 out of every 100 lost time, 2.3 had to take light duty, and 1.3 had injuries classified as “other.”

The report is based on OSHA reports submitted by Amazon and “roughly 10 percent of” Amazon’s US-based DSPs. Amazon did not respond to The Verge’s request for comment on the report.

The SOC claims that there’s one main reason DSP workers are injured at such high rates: the grueling speed they’re expected to work at. The report cites complaints from DSP drivers and lawsuits from the DSP companies themselves that say Amazon expects them to deliver a package every one to two minutes for 10 hours during the busiest times of the year. Workers also told the SOC that they’re afraid of being fired if they miss their unrealistic quotas. Amazon also reportedly doesn’t make accommodations for local conditions, such as narrow streets that are difficult to navigate its vans through or difficult terrain.

There have been similar stories about the company’s unrealistic goals for its warehouse workers.

While DSP drivers aren’t directly employees of Amazon, companies should be held at least somewhat responsible for the actions of other companies they’ve chosen to work with. That’s especially true in Amazon’s case — the retailer has shown that it’s willing to make rules about drivers’ hygiene and social media posts, and it monitors them with AI-powered cameras and buggy, frustrating apps. It also sets the quotas that DSPs have to meet. It’s hard to imagine that Amazon couldn’t find a way to make sure contracted drivers were as safe as the ones it directly employs (though, arguably, it should be aiming for even better).

 Graph: SOC
The report claims that the injury rates for Amazon’s delivery workers has increased since 2020 as the company’s business boomed.

Amazon leadership has addressed injuries before. In his 2021 letter to shareholders, CEO Andy Jassy said that the company’s recordable incident rates were “a little lower than the average of our courier and delivery peers.” The SOC has pushed back against that statement in its report, calling it “seriously misleading.” The union claims that Amazon was using old numbers from 2020, when injury rates were significantly lower. (The injury rates at Amazon’s warehouses also reportedly dipped in 2020 before rising again in 2021.)

The SOC also says that the numbers Amazon provides to back up its “little lower than the average” claim don’t include a large chunk of its delivery operations because it doesn’t take into account the injury data from DSPs. This shouldn’t necessarily be surprising given that Amazon doesn’t consider them employees. (It “empowers” them but doesn’t employ them.) Yet, DSP drivers wear an Amazon uniform, drive a van with the company’s logo on it, and are even given driving directions by an Amazon device.

Source: The Verge

Popular posts from this blog

How to get the Microsoft experience on a Chromebook

Microsoft's dedication to Android translates to a great Chrome OS experience, too. Once upon a time, to get the best experience for Microsoft services, you needed to buy a Windows laptop . If you were on a budget laptop with lower specs, though, performance was slow, all tasks were tedious, and your productivity suffered. These days, though, the best Chromebooks offer excellent performance and less maintenance at lower price points. Thanks to the way Microsoft has worked to improve Microsoft apps and services across all platforms — from Macs to Android tablets to phones — you can still get most of the Microsoft goodies on a Chromebook. In fact, if you're on a tight computer budget, a Chromebook could be the best machine for Microsoft users — something even Microsoft acknowledges as it preps Windows 10X to better compete with Chrome OS. From productivity to playing games, here's how to get the best Microsoft experience on a Chromebook. Best of Microsoft on Chromeb

FCC approves broadband 'nutrition labels' to help you shop for internet

The FCC is pushing nutrition labels for internet providers. What you need to know The FCC has voted to move forward with new rules for ISPs to display nutrition labels. The proposed rulemaking would mandate ISPs to display relevant speed and pricing information to consumers. This should make it easier for consumers to make an informed decision on their broadband. The FCC voted unanimously on a plan that would allow consumers to make better decisions about their broadband internet. The proposal will require internet service providers (ISPs) - including many of the best wireless carriers in the U.S. — to display "nutrition labels" that display relevant service information for consumers at point-of-sale. This includes internet speeds, allowances, and clear information on rates. "If you walk into any grocery store and pull boxes of cereal from the shelves, you can easily compare calories and carbohydrates," FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statemen

Follow these steps to connect a Pro Controller to your Android phone

Playing games on your smartphone is one of the best ways to entertain yourself. However, it can be tough to play with some games when you're just tapping on a screen. Fortunately, it's possible to sync up a traditional controller. That's where it's nice to connect your Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and get playing on the best gaming phones . By the way, the Playstation 4 controller as well as the Xbox One controller are also compatible with Android devices, if you'd prefer to use one of those. Note: You will only be able to use a Pro Controller if your phone is running Android 10 and if the game you're playing supports controllers. Additionally, the process for syncing the controller with your phone will be different from one phone to the next. How to use Switch controller on Android: Sync Pro Controller to your phone via Bluetooth Do keep in mind that some Android games — including some of the most popular titles like Genshin Impact — don't act

Duke Nukem is getting a movie from some guys who could actually pull it off

The one true Duke. I wouldn’t be surprised if you have no idea who Duke Nukem even is — that’s how hard the classic video game franchise cratered a decade ago. Today, the character is mostly known as a punchline for video game vaporware jokes, about how Duke Nukem Forever spent 14 years in development hell only to become a huge flop. And yet for years now, Duke’s corporate owners have been whispering that a movie is coming, culminating in The Hollywood Reporter ’s story today : Legendary Entertainment has tapped Cobra Kai creators Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg to actually produce a feature film. I don’t quite know how to react! As a gamer who actually quite liked Duke Nukem , Duke Nukem II and Duke Nukem 3D, I absolutely agree that this movie should never be made because Duke Nukem has no depth and no story and was always designed to be a caricature . (Side note: the famous quote about coming to kick ass and chew bubblegum and being all out of gum? Like most