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VentureBeat

Staten Island Amazon's Staggering Injury Rate

The fulfillment center reported injury rates 3 times the national average

Brian Young's picture
Dec 03, 2019

The holiday shopping season is here and over the Thanksgiving weekend, millions of people logged onto Amazon to get the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Once that new TV is ordered, the order is sent to one of the thousands of fulfillment centers that dot the country and allow Amazon to deliver its product in two days or less.

One such fulfillment center is known as JFK8 and is located in Staten Island New York. Since the warehouse opened in September of 2018, JFK8 has gained a reputation as a grueling and unsafe place to work. Now newly leaked documents show that the injury rate is 3 times the industry average inside the Staten Island facility.

The evidence of the sky-high accident rate comes from Amazon’s filing of OSHA forms 300 and 300(a). Form 300 is submitted by management and documents anytime injuries of a certain severity occur. Form 300(a) aggregates all incidents for the year. According to the OSHA incident rate calculator, JFK8 scored a 15.19 in 2018. For a baseline comparison, the industry average for a sawmill is 6.1, steel foundries are 10.2, and warehouses is 4.5.

It is also important to remember that JFK8 only opened in September of 2018.  That means that the warehouse was open for only one quarter of the year. While most of the injuries at JFK8 were minor, things like sprains and bruises, they were significant enough to be reported. Amazon would only have to report incidents that couldn’t be handled on-site. Gizmodo reports that some workers have reported much worse. “There was a lady I know. I cried when she told me she had a miscarriage. She was five months pregnant,” a current JFK8 worker, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, told Gizmodo. “The managers just refused to put her in a different section where she might have had less bending, stretching and things to do.”

Workers at the warehouse told Gizmodo they were pushed to work faster leading to injuries like trips and falls. One worker said they were pushed so hard they tripped over a ladder and had bruises on their leg. They also complained about falling boxes and dehydration. Others said that fans didn’t work in the summer and there was no heat in the winter.

With Amazon fulfillment centers popping up all over the country, worker advocates are wondering if this is the norm. According to the National Council for Occupational Safety (COSH), six workers died on the job in the 7 months before April 2019. That is a huge increase in the amount of on the job deaths over the past year. According to COSH, Amazon had 13 people die on the job between 2013 and 2019, meaning nearly half died in the in 2018-19.

With the holiday shopping season here, let's hope that Amazon has taken some precautions to make JFK8 and their other fulfillment centers significantly safer. Otherwise, we may be reporting on more injuries and deaths in the future.

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