Amazon warehouse workers have had the most dangerous job in the industry for the last four years, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The Post’s analysis of Occupational Health and Safety Administration data from 2017 to 2020 found that Amazon warehouse workers suffered from work-related injuries at higher rates than other comparable warehouse employees.

  • In 2020, there were 5.9 serious incidents for every 100 Amazon warehouse employees “that resulted in workers missing work or transferring to lighter duties,” reported the Post. This was an improvement from 2019 when Amazon reported a 7.8 injury rate.
  • “In comparison, Walmart, the largest private U.S. employer and one of Amazon’s competitors, reported 2.5 serious cases per 100 workers at its facilities in 2020,” according to the Post.
  • “Analysis of OSHA data by @washingtonpost shows Amazon’s serious injury rates are nearly double those at warehouses run by other companies,” wrote Post projects editor Julie Vitkovskaya on Twitter.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.

Why do Amazon warehouses have so many injuries?

The OSHA data showed that after two back-to-back years of rising injury rates, Amazon was able to improve workplace safety in 2020. Outgoing CEO Jeff Bezos said recently that Amazon needed “to do a better job for our employees,” according to CNBC.

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The Washington Post reported that Amazon “pushes many of its warehouse staff — particularly those at fulfillment centers, sorting centers and delivery stations — to meet hourly rates to stow, pick and pack items. Critics say those metrics are too onerous and lead to injuries.”

  • Eric Frumin, the health and safety director of the Strategic Organization Center — a labor union coalition — blamed Amazon’s high injury rate on a “stunning degree of incompetence,” the Post reported.
  • “In 2020, Amazon workers who experienced lost time injuries were forced off work for an average of 46.3 days — more than a month and a half,” SOC found in its own analysis. “That is a week longer than the average recovery time for workers injured in the general warehouse industry and more than two weeks longer than the recovery time for the average worker who suffered a lost time injury.”

Amazon has set a goal to reduce workplace injuries by half by 2025, reported CNBC.

Bezos told shareholders in April that Amazon doesn’t set “unreasonable performance goals,” but “achievable performance goals that take into account tenure and actual employee performance data,” according to the Post.

  • “While any incident is one too many, we are continuously learning and seeing improvements through ergonomics programs, guided exercises at employees’ workstations, mechanical assistance equipment, workstation setup and design, and forklift telematics and guardrails — to name a few,” said Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel to CNBC.