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Hundreds of Amazon warehouse staff injured in workplace accidents over past three years

  • 19.02.2020
  • JessicaMG
  • Personal-injury, Personal-injury
  • serious injury head injury accident at work HSE workplace injury injury at work workplace accident fall from height Amazon GMB Union orthopaedic injury Health & Safety Executive near misses

New figures compiled by the GMB Union suggest that hundreds of people have been seriously injured over the last three years while working at Amazon warehouses around the UK.

GMB union numbers show 240 reports of serious injury or near misses were sent to the Health and Safety Executive in 2019, and 622 over three years.

For injuries to be included in the figures they need to be serious enough to stop a worker performing their normal duties for at least seven days, or be on a list which includes fractures, amputation, crushing, scalping or burning.

Reports from Sky News and the BBC have detailed a number of instances of accidents at work at Amazon warehouses, including one incident in London in which a worker was knocked unconscious and appeared to stop breathing following a head injury. An accident investigation report found the “main root cause of this incident was failing to provide a safe working environment”.

In another incident, a worker in a warehouse in Manchester trapped their hand in a gate and suffered orthopaedic injuries.

While a third worker suffered internal bruising after they were knocked down and wedged under a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) at an Amazon warehouse in Bardon Hill, Leicestershire.

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 worse. Hundreds of stricken Amazon workers are needing urgent medical attention. Conditions are hellish."

Mr Rix called for a parliamentary inquiry, adding: "Enough is enough."

Jack Dromey, Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington, accused Amazon of behaving "like a 19th century millowner".

He added: "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 firsthand from frightened workers of the 77 serious incidents in Rugeley alone."

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Amazon said: "Amazon is a safe place to work. Yet again, our 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.

"Our doors are open to the public, to politicians, and indeed to anyone who truly wants to see the modern, innovate [sic] and, most importantly, safe environment we provide to our people."

Richard Edwards, a Partner within our Personal Injury team who specialises in handling serious accident at work claims, comments:

Warehouses are places where people come into close contact with heavy lifting equipment. This creates an injury risk. The Health & Safety Executive issues stacks of guidance for employers about how those risks can be managed. Complying with it, however, is expensive. It doesn’t just involve initial costs such as painting lanes, erecting signs and staff training, there are also ongoing production costs associated with the creation of the right culture in which staff don’t feel under pressure to take risks.

Richard Edwards secures over £400,000 for a man who was left brain damaged after inhaling harmful chemical fumes at his job as a probationary plant operator. Read more here...

Richard is a Partner within our Personal Injury department. If you would like to speak with Richard regarding accident at work or personal injury claims, or indeed any other aspect of this article, please call 0800 027 2557 today or fill out a contact form on the side of this page. Alternatively, you can contact Richard directly here.