06 Feb Amazon warehouses attended by ambulances once every two days after workplace accidents
Figures released last year paint a worrying picture for those who work inside the Amazon UK fulfilment centres.
“It’s a jungle out there” – A well-known phrase that can be used to refer to a threatening environment where it is difficult to survive. A threatening jungle environment such as the Amazonian rainforest, perhaps.
What it should not refer to is an individual’s workplace, a place where employees should feel safe from injury. It would appear from their latest workplace injury figures, however, that Amazon is drawing similarities to that very jungle.
A report by The Sunday Times released in October 2019 revealed that 11 Amazon UK warehouses were attended by ambulances 193 times last year. This was after workers in their fulfilment centres suffered various injuries including collapsing from exhaustion and breathing problems.
Since 2016, these 11 fulfilment centres around the UK have been visited by an ambulance 606 times.
Incredibly, The Sunday Times report found a member of staff who stated they were disciplined when they didn’t finish a shift after becoming ill at work and taken to hospital.
The Various Injuries Inside Amazon’s Warehouses
There are numerous horror stories in the investigation. In the past three years alone, a pregnant member of staff at the Daventry warehouse collapsed with convulsions, another worker fell from a 10-foot walkway at a warehouse in Leicestershire, and a driver at a separate depot was left with a traumatic injury after being struck by a metal bar.
The most common reasons for an ambulance call-out were fainting, breathing problems, and chest pain. This would paint a picture of over-worked and stressed staff.
This was evident in a 2018 poll of 100 Amazon workers. The poll found that more than half were suffering from depression and eight of the 100 said that they had thought about killing themselves. In the poll, one worker stated:
People just peed in bottles because they lived in fear of being disciplined over ‘idle time’ and losing their jobs just because they needed the loo.
Amazon denied claims of workers’ stress in its warehouses, saying they are not convinced the staff polled actually worked for them.
The same can be said for their American counterparts across the pond. This week, American warehouse workers have condemned unsafe and grueling conditions at their warehouses, stating that they are “not robots”. A high injury report was published but the only change Amazon implemented was to install video monitors around the warehouse that tell workers “safety is the company’s number one priority”.
In the UK, Amazon released a statement in response to the Sunday Times report. They stated:
We have a focus on ensuring we provide a great environment for all our employees.
Amazon ensures all of its associates have easy access to toilet facilities which are just a short walk from where they are working.
It remains to be seen whether Amazon UK will remedy some of its employees’ growing concerns surrounding health and safety.
However, one certainty will always be that if employees are injured whilst at their place of work, through no fault of their own, they are entitled to compensation. This compensation exists to put the victim back in the financial position they were in if the accident hadn’t have happened. This can include covering any loss of income (including any missed overtime), the cost of care, travel costs, and the cost of adapting your home/car.
How can Smooth Law help?
If you have been injured in one of Amazon’s warehouses through no fault of your own, our personal injury lawyers can help you claim compensation. With decades of experience across our team, we can provide clear, confident and compassionate guidance for every step of the claims process, giving you the best chance of securing fair compensation.
Our lawyers are members of APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) reflecting our expertise with all types of personal injury claims and we represent all of our clients on a no-win, no-fee basis, so there is no upfront charge to start a claim.