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Hundreds injured at Amazon UK annually, workers’ union finds

Photo: Scott Lewis / Flickr

Hundreds have suffered serious injury or narrowly avoided serious injury whilst working at Amazon’s warehouses in the UK over the last three years.

In the last three years there were 622 reports of serious injury or near misses that were sent to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), with 240 of those coming in the last twelve months.

The figures were collated by the GMB union using Freedom of Information requests to the HSE.

Growing number of reports

Reports to the HSE have increased year on year. There was a 57.8% increase in reports in the time period between 2017 and 2019 from 152 in 2017, to 240 in 2019.

This does however also correlate with a 120% increase in the number of warehouses open between 2015 (10) and today (22).

‘Hellish conditions’

To be included in the figures, injuries to workers must be severe enough to prevent workers from performing their usual duties for at least a calendar week, or be one of a prescribed list of injuries including fractures, burns, crush injuries, and amputations.

The GMB union highlighted a case where a worker in London lost consciousness after a head injury and even appeared to stop breathing. 

The accident report found that the main root cause of the incident was that sorting baskets had been overfilled which was deemed a failure to provide a safe working environment.

In a statement, Mick Rix, the GMB’s national officer, condemned Amazon’s PR campaign promoting its warehouses as great places to work, and branded conditions as ‘hellish’ and called upon the Government to instigate a full parliamentary inquiry.

Amazon refuted the claims, stating that their warehouses are safe places to work, that claims are sensationalised, and that doors are open to the public to see from themselves the working environment on offer.

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