Amazon launches new worker safety program

Amazon launches new worker safety program
© getty

Amazon announced Monday that it is launching a new program aimed at improving the health and safety of its workers.

WorkingWell will help employees avoid workplace injuries and improve their mental health, the e-commerce giant said in a blog post.

The program was piloted in 2019 and will be expanded to all American operations by the end of the year.

ADVERTISEMENT

It involves showing employees videos on how to do tasks without hurting themselves, mindfulness practices and signage in break rooms indicating what snacks are healthy.

Amazon has a history of misleading the public and lawmakers about its worker safety track record.

Internal reports obtained by Reveal News last year show that in 2019 Amazon fulfillment centers recorded 14,000 serious injuries that required either taking time off or being moved off of specific tasks.

That rate — 7.7 serious injuries per 100 employees — was nearly double a recent industry standard and a 33 percent increase from 2016, which calls into question some of Amazon’s claims about consistent safety improvements.

Workers at Amazon have long criticized the company over exhausting work quotas and dangerous conditions, especially during busy periods like the holidays, Prime Day and Cyber Monday.

During the coronavirus pandemic, workers at dozens of facilities protested what they said was a lack of protection against the deadly disease. Amazon revealed last October that 19,000 of its workers in the U.S. had tested positive for COVID-19 but has not publicly shared case numbers since then.

The company beat back an initial unionization drive at its Bessemer, Ala., facility recently, but that is unlikely to be the last site to try organizing.

The company has been on a hiring spree since the onset of the pandemic, announcing last week that it is looking to hire 75,000 new employees after having added half a million in 2020. Amazon employs more than 1.3 million people worldwide.