Amazon Attempts to Downplay Hundreds of Injuries in Their UK Warehouses
Posted: July 28, 2022
Posted in: Head & Brain Injuries Personal Injury Workplace Injuries
A report in early 2020 – just before the first UK Coronavirus lockdown – from Sky News revealed conditions described as “Hellish” in Amazon’s UK warehouses. Warehouse workers across the sector already see some of the highest rates of workplace injury. Amazon’s insistence that it is a “safe environment” only serves to demonstrate PR is more important to the company than those injured at Amazon.
The number of accidents involving injured Amazon workers have been climbing since 2017, as Amazon have doubled their UK warehouses. The number of workers injured at Amazon was 152 in 2017. Over the course of 3 years in the lead-up to the publication, there were reports sent to HSE of 622 serious injuries or near misses. 240 of those occurred during the 2019 financial year.
Injuries like these are significant enough to inhibit an employee from working for at least 7 days. That, or they are so severe, that they are on HSE’s list of serious injuries. This list includes burns, amputations, fractures, and even scalping.
A worker injured at Amazon’s London warehouse stopped breathing after suffering a head injury and falling unconscious. The workplace accident investigation found it to be caused by “failing to provide a safe working environment.”
A Leicestershire employee, also injured at Amazon, was knocked down and trapped under an HGV. They suffered internal bruising. Another employee had several boxes fall on them in the Manchester warehouse. They were also left with head injuries and an inter vertebral disc prolapse.
Amazon workers are notoriously low paid, not to mention rigorously monitored and stripped of basic worker rights. For example, Amazon drivers weren’t entitled to holiday pay and a minimum wage as recently as late 2021. Time off due to sickness can seriously affect an individual’s finances without proper sick pay. Adding significant stress to an already difficult situation. In the meantime, Amazon continues to post record profits and recently increased costs to consumers.
Reports of those injured at Amazon aren’t the only thing trying to be swept under the rug. In California, Amazon failed to notify health agencies, as well as staff, of COVID-19 case numbers. This left workers “terrified” and “powerless” as Coronavirus continued to ravage the US in 2021. Instead, Amazon prepared for the Black Friday and Christmas rushes. Amazon insisted: “We’ve worked hard from the beginning of the pandemic to keep our employees safe.”
Union and Political Responses to Injuries at Amazon’s Warehouses
A statement from Mick Rix, a national GMB union officer, suggested Amazon are doing more to promote new warehouse jobs than caring for its existing staff:
“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.”
Rix went on to say, “Enough is enough” and called for a parliamentary inquiry. MP Jack Dromey likened Amazon to a “19th century mill owner.” He added:
“In my 30 years in the world of work, I cannot remember any company clock up so many injuries to its workers. I have been inside the giant Rugeley depot and heard first hand from frightened workers of the 77 serious incidents in Rugeley alone.”
An Amazon spokesperson insists those raising the alarm over workers injured at Amazon are repeating “sensationalised allegations.” They state that:
“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.”
The danger with companies who promote their image to maintain share price in the face of damning reports on worker health and safety is that they refuse to make changes to improve the wellbeing of their staff. This means that an admittance and correction of wrongdoing would be worse for them than injured employees. Larger companies in particular can afford to settle personal injury claims without making changes to working practices. This may go as far to explain why Amazon are worried that they will run out of people to hire in the US by the end of 2024.
Have you Been Injured at Amazon?
Amazon employs a significant number of the UK workforce, and as such, they are responsible for the lives and wellbeing of thousands of staff. If a company of this scale refuses to maintain a safe working environment, you need a team to represent you when you’ve been injured at Amazon.
Contact us on 01252354433^ to speak to our friendly team, who will evaluate your claim free of charge and under no-obligation. If we feel you have a case for employer negligence compensation, we can offer our services on a no win, no fee * basis. Call now to get the compensation you deserve.
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