Amazon and Tesla don’t really have much in common, save for the fact that if you work in one of their factories you’d be well advised to have good health insurance. According to a new report from the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH), Amazon and Tesla share the not so illustrious honor of having factories with less than ideal working conditions for employees.
Specifically, the report highlights 12 corporations for having hazardous working conditions, a list that includes Amazon, Tesla, and Lowe’s. As to how the 12 corporations — which the report dubs the Dirty Dozen — were chosen, National COSH writes that they “solicited information about companies that put workers and
communities at risk from our network of health and safety activists.” Moreover, criteria that was considered in coming up with the report includes “severity of injuries to workers; exposure to unnecessary and preventable risk” and repeat citations from both state and federal authorities.
Working conditions in Amazon warehouses are known to be particularly brutal, but the report here details how they can also be dangerous at times. The report specifically notes that 7 Amazon employees have died in various accidents at Amazon facilities over the past 5 years.
With respect to Tesla, the report claims that the company has a recordable injury rate that is 31% higher than the industry average. What’s more, the report adds that serious injuries at Tesla facilities are 83% higher than the industry average. Incidentally, the report references a recent investigative report which claims that Tesla has been under-reporting serious injuries in an effort to make its factory appear safer than it truly is.
That said, it’s worth mentioning that Tesla has strongly denied the allegations laid out in the aforementioned report, noting in part:
The report suggests Tesla doesn’t accurately track injuries or that we mislabeled or undercounted injuries to make our record look better than it actually is. We believe in transparency and would never intentionally misrepresent our safety record to our employees or the public. Reveal showed us a number of cases where they claimed injuries should have been documented as work-related rather than personal. In fact, we have reviewed and confirmed that the recorded injuries Reveal disputed to us were properly recorded by Tesla.
While the summaries in the report are truly troubling, it’s worth noting a few things. One, the National (COSH) should not be confused with the federal agency that is the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Two, the National (COSH) report is littered with a number of peculiar details which tends to call into question the underlying motives of the report. For instance, the section on Amazon includes a number of seemingly irrelevant tidbits about Amazon seeking tax subsidies and a section on an Amazon patent involving ultrasonic wristbands for monitoring employee performance.
Update: Amazon has since reached out and provided us with the following statement:
Amazon has created over 130,000 jobs in the last year alone and now employees over 560,000 people around the world. Ensuring the safety of these associates is our number one priority. Operational meetings, new hire orientation, process training and new process development begin with safety and have safety metrics and audits integrated within each program. We expect our leadership to continually improve the safety results of their operations by reducing physical risk through the design of processes, equipment and work areas, applying high standards of safety performance each day, improving capabilities through training and coaching using rigorous management reporting systems to track and audit their progress. We have also launched the Safety Leadership Index across our US operations where every associate is surveyed through our Connections Program answering a series of questions each month to measure the perception of safety in their facility. Each of these safety programs and measures apply to everyone working in our facilities — full time, part time, seasonal, and temporary. While any serious incident is one too many, we learn and improve our programs working to prevent future incidents. We are proud of safety record and thousands of Amazonians work hard every day innovating ways to make it even better. We encourage anyone to come see for themselves by taking a tour at one of our fulfillment centers — learn more at http://amazonfctours.com.