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More Than 600 Serious Incidents At Amazon

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

MORE THAN 600 SERIOUS HEALTH AND SAFETY INCIDENTS NOW REPORTED AT AMAZON WAREHOUSES, GMB REVEALS

Shock figures emerge as Shadow Work and Pensions Minister Jack Dromey tells Amazon: ‘Explain yourselves in Parliament’

The number of serious health and safety incidents reported at Amazon warehouses has now risen to more than 600, a GMB Union investigation has revealed. [1]

Since 2015/16, a total of 602 reports have been made from Amazon warehouses to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The figures emerge as Shadow Work and Pensions Minister Jack Dromey tells Amazon: ‘Explain yourselves in Parliament’.

The MP for Erdington and Emma Reynolds, MP for Wolverhampton North East, are at Amazon’s Rugeley warehouse today to quiz bosses about their health and safety record. [2]

A GMB study earlier this year revealed 440 incidents had been reported – but figures from Amazon’s Swansea and Dunfermerline warehouses have now been included and bring the figure above 600.

According to the RIDDOR reports [3], workers have suffered fractures, head injuries, contusions, collisions with heavy equipment - and one report detailed a forklift truck crash caused by a ‘lapse of concentration possibly due to long working hours.’ [See note 3 for more details]

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said:

“How much longer can Amazon bosses ignore the terrible conditions people are forced to endure in their warehouses?

“They can’t keep burying their heads in the sand while their workers are breaking bones, being knocked unconscious or being taken away in ambulances.

“Amazon – the richest company on the planet - has been handed millions in subsidies by UK taxpayers and frankly enough is enough. They need to take responsibility for what is happening here in the UK to fill their pockets with gold. 

If Amazon want to sort this out, they need to meet with GMB. We don’t want to be protesting outside their warehouses, we’d rather be around the negotiating table,  but until that happens we won’t stop campaigning to keep people safe at work.”

Jack Dromey, MP and Shadow Work and Pensions Minister, said:

"It is simply unacceptable for such a large, profitable company as Amazon to be putting the safety of its staff at risk at work.

“I am visiting the now infamous Rugeley site with Emma Reynolds MP today [November 9] to ask Amazon directly why their staff suffer so many injuries at work, as well  as asking why they won't recognise GMB? What are they afraid of? 

"Amazon must now come to Parliament and explain themselves."

ENDS

Contact: GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at press.office@gmb.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

[1] Total number of Amazon RIDDOR reports – details obtained from Local Authorities by GMB under the Freedom of Information Act

 

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

Total

Total

132

168

187

114

602

* 2018/19 = the year to August/September 2018.

** A small number of local authorities reported figures for calendar rather than financial years. In this table, reports for 2015 have been included under 2015/16, with the sample principle applied in subsequent years.

[2] Jack Dromey MP and Emma Reynolds MP will visit Amazon Rugeley,Tower Business Park, Power Station Rd, Rugeley, WS15 1LX on November 9, 2018. They will be available for interviews from 3.30 – 4pm at the site.

For more information email: charlie.rainsford@parliament.uk or call 07450 211840

[3] To qualify for a report under the RIDDOR system, an incident must result in a worker either (a) being unable to perform their normal work duties for more than seven days, or (b) a ‘specified injury,’ which includes broken bones, amputations, and loss of consciousness.

 ‘Specified injuries’ are those that result in:

·         fractures, other than to fingers, thumbs and toes

·         amputations

·         any injury likely to lead to permanent loss of sight or reduction in sight

·         any crush injury to the head or torso causing damage to the brain or internal organs

·         serious burns (including scalding) which:

o    covers more than 10% of the body

o    causes significant damage to the eyes, respiratory system or other vital organs

·         any scalping requiring hospital treatment

·         any loss of consciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia

·         any other injury arising from working in an enclosed space which:

o    leads to hypothermia or heat-induced illness

o    requires resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours


Source – Health and Safety Executive: http://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/reportable-incidents.htm 

·         In London a forklift driver collided with a column, causing a mezzanine floor to become unsafe in a serious ‘near miss’ incident. The investigation report said the cause was a ‘lapse of concentration possibly due to long working hours.’ The Health and Safety Executive said the Amazon worker who reported the incident gave ‘no contact details for fear of being sacked.

·         Agency workers at Amazon’s Dundee warehouse were working at a temperature of 3°C during the day in the winter of 2016/17 – falling to sub-zero temperatures at night. The HSE advises that warehouses should have an ambient temperature of at least 13°C. The law says that temperatures must be at a ‘reasonable’ level, but the HSE advises that ‘if the work involves rigorous physical effort, the temperature should be at least 13 degrees Celsius.’ http://www.hse.gov.uk/temperature/law.htm

·         A worker in Leicestershire, suffered internal bruising after being knocked down and wedged under a heavy goods vehicle. The report said the unsafe driving manoeuvre leading to the accident was ‘not an uncommon practice.’

·         In Peterborough a member of the public complained delivery drivers were forced to wait for 8 to 10 hours in an unheated room, and that ‘this is not sustainable and needs to be rectified before Amazon is responsible for road accidents.’

·         A courier driver from Sunderland complained Amazon and its contractors ‘create an environment of fear to speak out in matters that risk our lives and the lives of the general public on the road.’

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