'Injury rates on Amazon are sometimes misunderstood,' says the CEO. Andy Jassy

'Injury rates on Amazon are sometimes misunderstood,' says the CEO. Andy Jassy ...

Andy Jassy, Amazon's CEO in his first letter, said that when it comes to worker safety, Amazon is merely the average.

Our injury rates are sometimes misunderstood, he said. Amazon is "about average relative to peers, but we don't want to be average. We want to be the best in class."

Earlier this week, a survey from a coalition of labor unions the Strategic Organizing Center found that the rate of injury at Amazon warehouses increased by about 20%. Compared to other warehouse workers, Amazon workers required 19 more days to recover from injury.

According to a SOC report, the fatal injury rate at Amazon warehouses in 2021 was 6.7 percent on average, compared to 3.3 percent in other non-Amazon warehouses.

When it compares itself to other industry leaders, Jassy said Amazon splits its workforce into two categories, according to his letter on Thursday.

Amazons' injury rate was higher than its warehouse peers 6.4 versus 5.5 but lower than its courier and delivery peers 6.7 versus 9.1.

According to Jassy, Amazon is on the rise.

I spent a lot of time with our fulfillment centers and with our safety team, hoping that there might be a silver bullet that might alter the numbers quickly, Jassy wrote. I did not find that.

Amazon has invested in rotational activities that help employees avoid spending too much time doing the same repetitive motions, as well as wearables that incite employees when they're moving in a dangerous way, improved shoes to provide better toe protection and training programs.

Weve been dissecting every process path to see how we can further improve, he said. But, we still have a way to go, and well treat it as we do other customer experiences well keep learning, inventing, and iterating until we have more profound results.

"We will not be satisfied until we do."

Jassy said Amazon created a list of 100 "pain points" for employees and is committed to systematic solutions.

Debbie Berkowitz, a former senior OSHA official and a fellow at Georgetown University, said Amazon's decision to slash individual injury rates for warehouse workers and drivers is "disingenuous."

Because some of Amazon's facilities have a very high injury rate, including its warehouse in DuPont, they increase the nationwide rate for warehouse workers, implying that Amazon's rates are closer to those of its competitors, according to Berkowitz. Many Amazon drivers will not be counted in the lower-than-average injury rate cited by the company, as they are employed through independent delivery companies. This is part of Amazon's delivery service partner program.

This isn't the first time Amazon has made huge promises to improve workers' employment at its facilities. In his last letter to shareholders as Amazon CEO in April, Jeff Bezos committed the company to becoming "Earth's Best Employer" and "Earth's Safest Place to Work."

Amazon planned to invest in workers with wage, benefits, and training opportunities to assist employees in improving their productivity by reverting to new technologies. In addition to investing $300 million in safety projects and using algorithms to rotate employees among tasks in order to reduce repetitive motions.

Im adamant to collaborate with the large team of passionate people we have... and to assist in this arena, Bezos said. We at Amazon are always flexible on the subject, but on issues of vision we are stubborn and ruthless.

State workplace regulators in Washington have accused Amazon four times of violating safety regulations and enacted a link between Amazon's speed of work and its injury rate.

Jassy, the director of the Strategic Organizing Center, believes the "silver bullet" he's looking for in order to make an impact on worker injury rates: slow down, stop disciplining, and in some instances firing, workers who aren't keeping up with the pace Amazon has set.

What's stopping Andy Jassy from doing the obvious thing? he said.

Jassy's letter allegedly erroneously drew place, implying that "it will take a long time till his employees get any help."

The shareholders' letter comes as employees across the country are calling to attention to the working conditions at Amazon facilities.

Delivery companies that partner with Amazon to drop-off packages on doorsteps have sued the firm in part for setting unsafe expectations for drivers. Warehouse workers in New York voted to organize the first union at an Amazon facility in the United States, aiming to improve working conditions and pay, while employees at other offices may be gearing up to follow their path.

Following a tornado in Edwardsville, Illinois, where six Amazon employees died, a House Oversight Committee told Jassy in March, asking for information on Amazon's labor practices. Supervisors reportedly threatened employees and contractors would lose their jobs if they left the facility.

During an investigation into the company's e-commerce platform, lawmakers are increasingly paying attention to Amazon's business model, examining whether it is engaging in competitive practices. Similarly, in March, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle, and other members of the Judiciary Committee accused Amazon of lying to Congress.

In his letter to shareholders, Jassy writes that Amazon's broad expertise and how it aided people during the pandemic, whether it be to obtain food, clothing, and personal protective equipment, or for technology expertise to keep their websites running and digital data safe.

Revenue from Amazon Web Services increased by 37 percent year over year in 2021, while revenue from consumer goods increased by 43 percent in the first quarter of that year, according to the report.

In 2021, Amazon had seven fulfillment centers in the United States, with 253 centers, 110 sorting centers, and 467 delivery stations.

In the early 2000s, an average of 18 hours was required to move an item through an Amazon fulfillment center. Now, it takes two things.

A $100 billion capital investment has enabled the company to expand its delivery network to 260,000 drivers in the United States, while its Air cargo fleet to 100 aircraft.

"We achieved the equivalent of three years' forecasted growth in about 15 months," Jassy said.

Added to the letter, he said, "We have more invention ahead of us in the next 15 years than the previous 15."


The Seattle Times. 2022. Visit. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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