But Amazon’s own records don’t back that up. Overall, warehouses with robots actually had higher injury rates.
In fact, the rate of serious injuries at the most common type of fulfillment center was more than 50 percent higher at robotic warehouses. Workers and former safety managers have told us robots increase the speed of production, so employees have to go faster.
This can lead to repetitive stress injuries and safety shortcuts that result in accidents. And Amazon has insisted that injury rates do not go up during its busiest shopping times, Prime Day and the holidays.
Last year, Amazon told us, the rate of injury has historically decreased or been stable during these two times.
That’s false. According to Amazon’s own records, injury rates have spiked during the weeks of Cyber Monday and Amazon’s own holiday, Prime Day.
And, finally, Amazon says its injury rates are high due to an aggressive stance on recording injuries, no matter how big or small, according to a letter sent to lawmakers this year.
But internal memos and interviews reveal that Amazon has tried to lower injury rates by controlling the medical care injured workers receive at several fulfillment centers. For example, at this Colorado fulfillment center, Amazon attributed its high injury rates to the medical providers who gave injured workers treatment that required Amazon to record them for OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
So, Amazon terminated its use of an occupational clinic and switched to another.