Stories about Amazon’s warehouses having less than stellar working conditions are not rare. Between the heavy surveillance, breaks being barely long enough to walk to the restroom, and OSHA investigating several injuries, it’s unsurprising that the company would put worker welfare at the bottom of its priorities.
An investigation from Wired further cemented the opinion that Amazon would rather see an employee suffer a debilitating injury than a productivity dip. If a package handler experiences pain that could impact how many items they can get out the door in one day, the in-house clinic (AmCare) will move the injured worker to another position. This keeps workers’ compensation expenses low, and the workforce is minimally impacted.
However, depending on the type of sprain, fracture, or pulled muscle, the position these employees are moved to could worsen the injuries. If you’ve pulled your back, standing around all day instead of being allowed to rest and recover is almost like a prison sentence. In one account, an employee with a fractured skull was told to keep working after the accident. The accounts of productivity over safety are not uncommon.
A former OSHA deputy assistant secretary believes that Amazon’s method allows it to keep specific incidents from being documented, “What some companies are doing, and I think Amazon is one of them, is using their own clinics to ‘treat people’ and send them right back to the job, so that their injury doesn’t have to be recordable.” Of course, a spokeswoman for Amazon denies this, “Any suggestion that we intentionally or systematically delay or discourage employees from seeking needed medical care is false.”
Wired spoke with people who had worked with Nevada’s AmCare clinic, and it was alleged that the EMTs would provide “pseudo-medical” treatments that would steer employees away from outside treatment. In a daming statement, the former AmCare worker said, “When we’re in ambulances as EMTs, the entire point is to get people to definitive care. Then I get to Amazon, and it’s like, ‘No, we’re not getting them to a doctor.’ So what did you need me for? I’m the person who gets people to doctors.” Those working in AmCare can only provide first aid. They’re not allowed to diagnose injuries.
For more information on OSHA’s ongoing investigation and the questionable actions taken by Amazon, check out Wired’s story here.[Souce: Wire] [Source: Seattle Times]
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