GMB questions safety at Amazon warehouses

The GMB union has called for a Parliamentary inquiry into working practices in Amazon warehouses after an investigation by the union discovered more than 600 serious injuries or near misses in the last three years.

The figures were discovered through Freedom of Information Act requests to local authorities around the UK.

Between 2016-19, some 622 reports have been made by Amazon warehouses to the Health & Safety Executive – and these numbers have risen every year.

Examples of injuries reported to HSE from Amazon warehouses include:

– A worker at a London warehouse was knocked unconscious and stopped breathing following a head injury. The accident investigation report found that ‘the main root cause of this incident was failing to provide a safe working environment.’

– In Manchester, an Amazon Worker fractured their hand after their fingers got caught in between the station sliding gate and the surrounding gate support

– At a London warehouse, a forklift driver collided with a column, causing a mezzanine floor to become unsafe in a serious ‘near miss’ incident.

– A worker in Manchester suffered head injuries after a number of boxes fell on them, they were later diagnosed with an inter vertebral disc prolapse.

– A worker at Bardon Hill, in Leicestershire, suffered internal bruising after being knocked down and wedged under a heavy goods vehicle.

Mick Rix, GMB National Officer, said: “Amazon are spending millions on PR campaigns trying to persuade people its warehouses are great places to work. But the facts are there for all to see -things are getting worse. Hundreds of stricken Amazon workers are needing urgent medical attention. Conditions are hellish. We’ve tried over and over again to get Amazon to talk to use to try and improve safety for workers. But enough is enough – it’s now time for a full parliamentary inquiry.”

Jack Dromey, MP for Birmingham Erdington, said: “In my 30 years in the world of work I cannot remember any company clock up so many injuries to its workers. I have been inside the giant Rugeley depot and heard first hand from frightened workers of the 77 serious incidents in Rugeley alone.  Amazon purports to be a 21st century company. It behaves like a 19th century millowner. Amazon owner, the American billionaire, Jeff Bezos, should be called to account by Parliament for his actions. How can he or Amazon justify refusing to talk to their workers’ union, the GMB, on safety? Their behaviour is disgraceful.”