Tuesday 18 February 2020 11:42 am

Union slams Amazon over 'hellish' warehouse conditions

More than 600 serious injuries or near misses have been logged at Amazon warehouses in the past three years, according to the latest figures from GMB Union. 

Between 2016/17 and 2018/19 a total of 622 reports have been made from Amazon warehouses to the Health and Safety Executive, the union said as it called for a parliamentary inquiry into Amazon’s working conditions.

However, Amazon insisted it is a safe place to work, saying critics “seem determined to paint a false picture of what it’s like to work for Amazon”. 

“They repeat the same sensationalised allegations time and time again,” an Amazon spokesperson said. 

Injuries reported to HSE from Amazon warehouses included a worker that was knocked unconscious at a London site and stopped breathing due to the head industry, the GMB said.

A report into the accident found that “the main root cause of this incident was failing to provide a safe working environment”, according to a freedom of information request submitted by the union. 

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

Another worker in Manchester suffered a head injury after a number of boxes fell on them, and they were later diagnosed with an intervertebral disc prolapse.

GMB national officer Mick Rix 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 work. 

“Hundreds of stricken Amazon workers are needing urgent medical attention. Conditions are hellish.” 

The Amazon spokesperson added: “Our doors are open to the public, to politicians, and indeed to anyone who truly wants to see the modern, innovative and, most importantly, safe environment we provide to our people. 

“The fact is we benchmark against UK national data, published by the Health & Safety Executive, confirming we have over 40 per cent  fewer injuries on average than other transportation and warehousing businesses in the UK.”