Amazon has made a list for the most dangerous workplaces in the US for a third time. The advocacy group National COSH (Council for Occupational Safety and Health) has included Amazon in a “Dirty Dozen” list meant to shame what it sees as the least safe American workplaces of 2022. The internet retailer earned the less-than-flattering distinction for an injury rate more than double the industry average, including six deaths at a Bessemer, Alabama warehouse since it opened in 2020.
National COSH noted that one of the workers who died was reportedly forced to work while ill as he didn’t have enough unpaid time off. It also pointed to worker Jennifer Bates’ concerns that the “pace of work” and overall strain contributed to injuries. The advocates also pointed to Amazon firing Staten Island warehouse worker Gerald Bryson after a 2020 protest over a lack of COVID-19 safety measures. A judge recently ordered Amazon to reinstate Bryson after determining that he’d been fired in retaliation for his criticism.
We’ve asked Amazon for comment. It has historically denied putting workers at undue risk, and maintains that Bryson was fired for violating company language policies despite a lack of evidence. Amazon also made the list in 2019 and 2020. Other companies on the 2022 list include Dollar General, Hilton Hotels and Starbucks.
National COSH’s list won’t have any direct repercussions for Amazon. However, it’s not a good look for the tech firm after a string of allegations and incidents beyond the ones that helped it reach the list. The company has been chastised for running an Illinois warehouse during a tornado that killed six staffers in December. Workers’ rights proponents have also accused Amazon of misusing a charity work program to hide its true injury rates, and Bryson wasn’t the first supposedly fired for criticizing labor practices. We wouldn’t count on Amazon avoiding the 2023 list, even if it is trying to improve safety.
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