DENVER -- Former and current Colorado Amazon employees are calling for action and raising serious safety concerns regarding a lack of training and high demand at the company’s fulfillment centers.
“They need to take a step back and look at putting people over profit,” said a former Colorado Amazon employee who asked to have his identity disguised because he fears retaliation.
A current Amazon employee, who also did want her name used, said she’s been in four or five accidents since she started work.
“They don’t care if you’re well trained,” she said. “They just want you to get out the product.”
OSHA injury data shows higher rate of injury at Amazon
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) records obtained by Denver7 Investigates show a high rate of injury at Amazon fulfillment centers, including at two warehouses in Colorado.
Out of nearly 400 fulfillment locations across the country, Amazon’s Thornton location ranked ninth for the highest number of injuries in 2020. OSHA listed 260 injuries in one year, an average of five per week.
“I’ve seen injuries of the wrist, I’ve seen leg injuries, neck injuries … like half the people I know wear braces now,” the current employee said.
The Aurora Amazon where that employee worked had 121 total reported injuries to OSHA in 2020, ranking 58th in the country compared to other Amazon fulfillment centers.
Former, current employees cite lack of training, high demand for injuries
The current Amazon employee said she suffered a severely sprained ankle and injured her Achilles tendon while on the job in Aurora.
“I’m scared to go into work sometimes because I don’t know if I’m going to be injured again or not,” she said.
She was driving a Powered Industrial Truck, which is motorized equipment used to reach products and complete orders at Amazon warehouses.
“The net that is supposed to prevent things from falling on top of you, mine actually ripped and gave way and I was crushed,” the employee said. “It meant that I couldn’t walk at all for about a month and half, that I was unable to do basically anything, including work.”
She blames her injury on a lack of training and describes a culture where meeting Amazon’s high-pressure deadlines often takes a priority over safety.
“They set a time limit that you have to get everything done in a short amount of time. If you’re slow, they fire you for it,” she said.
The former employee also said Amazon lacks sufficient training, and as a result, he witnessed other employees get injured on a weekly basis.
“I handled a package, which was poorly boxed, and the contents of the package fell out and fell on to me,” he said. “I think there needs to be a higher level of attention paid to safety.”
Amazon declined Denver7 Investigates' request for an interview.
In an emailed statement, spokeswoman Barbara Agrait said, “While our rates aren’t where we want them to be, we’re investing heavily in safety and are encouraged by the fact that our rates are trending downward, even with the headwind of our rapid growth.”
As for Amazon’s training, a spokesperson said the company conducts daily safety trainings and employees are provided with dedicated training ambassadors. But the spokesperson did not respond directly to the employee accusations that the training is insufficient.
If you have been injured or had a similar experience, email Denver7 at Contact7@thedenverchannel.com.
Amazon’s full statement:
“Helping employees stay safe in physical roles takes a lot of focus and investment, and we’re investing in safety in many different ways, from people—we now have a team of more than 7,900 dedicated safety professionals—to training, to tools and technology, to new processes. While our rates aren’t where we want them to be, we’re investing heavily in safety and are encouraged by the fact that our rates are trending downward, even with the headwind of our rapid growth.”