Injuries among some Amazon drivers spiked sharply in 2021, new report says
- A labor union coalition found that in 2021, Amazon's third-party delivery contractors or delivery service partners suffered 38% more injuries than the year before.
- The coalition analyzed injury data from 201 – or roughly 10% – of Amazon's delivery service partners.
Injuries among drivers for Amazon's delivery service partners increased nearly 40% from 2020 to 2021, according to a group of labor unions that released the data in a report this month.
The Strategic Organizing Center (SOC), a coalition of labor unions, found that in 2021, Amazon's third-party delivery contractors or delivery service partners suffered 18.3 injuries per 100 full-time-equivalent-workers, a 38% increase from the 2020 rate.
Among Amazon delivery station employees, the SOC reported 10.9 injuries per 100 workers in 2021, a 15% increase from the previous year.
Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, called the report misleading, claiming it “cherry picks data from less than 10% of our delivery partners."
The SOC's analysis covers businesses Amazon reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as businesses the SOC identified as an Amazon delivery service partner. The analysis does not include drivers for Amazon's Flex app, because it does not report injuries to OSHA, the group said.
If the data doesn't show injury results for all of Amazon, it's because the company hasn't released information on all of its "delivery service partners," said Strategic Organizing Center Health and Safety Director Eric Frumin.
In February, Amazon said its net income increased $33.4 billion compared to its 2020 net income of $21.3 billion.
Amazon also told USA TODAY more than 600,000 people joined its workforce to help meet the demand from COVID-19. Like other companies in the industry, Amazon saw an increase in recordable injuries from 2020 to 2021 as it trained new people.
Two of Amazon's delivery service partners filed a lawsuit against Amazon Logistics Inc. in Oregon. The October 2021 complaint argued that the company breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, violated the Franchise Investment Protection Act and violated the Consumer Protection Act.
The complaint, provided to USA TODAY by the SOC, said that "despite the unique challenges that arise from delivering thousands of packages each day in these areas, (Amazon Logistics, Inc.) refused to adjust the number of packages per route to accommodate for the additional time it takes to deliver packages in multifamily dwellings and high-rise offices."
How Amazon on-the-job injuries are tracked
Amazon submits data on hours worked, injury numbers and injury types to OSHA, but information on delivery service partners is not included, the SOC said.
To find the data, the SOC looked at information Amazon submitted to OSHA in 2020 and 2021. The coalition searched social media and job listing sites Amazon uses to recruit delivery service partners. It took a full list of delivery companies that reported injury data to OSHA and excluded large companies outside of Amazon, such as DHL. The SOC says it analyzed data from 201 of Amazon's delivery service partners, or roughly 10 percent of Amazon's delivery service partners.
Amazon monitors workers for wrong reasons, group says
The SOC said Amazon terminates employees who don't meet production demands and uses a scoring system that ranks employees against their co-workers in terms of delivery completion rates and speed.
Amazon argues safety is a priority across the company and it has started using camera systems that reduced accident rates by nearly 50%.
The e-commerce site records video inside and outside a driver's van, tracking yawns and eye-movement patterns, the SOC said.
But Frumin said Amazon has failed to prioritize the safety of its drivers and warehouse workers.
"If Amazon somehow takes two days to send a case of toilet paper, the world's not going to come to an end, but it could save the lives and the bodies of thousands of their workers," he said.
Saleen Martin is a reporter on USA TODAY's NOW team. She is from Norfolk, Virginia and loves all things horror, witches, Christmas and food.
Saleen Martin, email@example.com, Twitter: @Saleen_Martin