41 Percent of Amazon Workers Have Been Injured On the Job, New Report Finds
The Center for Urban Economic Development at UIC releases results of 1,484-worker survey about work intensity, monitoring, and health
Wednesday, October 25, 2023
For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Jane Chung, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Chicago, IL) – Today, the Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois Chicago released a new report detailing the results of a survey of 1,484 Amazon workers across 451 facilities in 42 states—the largest and most representative nationwide study of Amazon workers to date. The data show a widespread health toll that is connected to the monitoring and intensity of work at the company.
“We undertook this study because media reports and government agency investigations have raised serious questions about working conditions at Amazon warehouses,” said Dr. Beth Gutelius, a co-author of the report. “The survey data indicate that how Amazon designs its processes–including extensive monitoring and the rapid pace of work–is contributing to a considerable physical and mental health toll, including injuries, burnout, and exhaustion.”
Key findings include:
- 41% percent of workers report being injured while working at an Amazon warehouse; 51% at the company for more than three years have been injured.
- 69% have had to take unpaid time off due to pain or exhaustion from working at the company in the past month; 34% have had to do so three or more times.
- 52% feel burned out from their work at Amazon. Among those working at the company for more than three years, 60% report feeling burned out.
- 41% always/most of the time feel a sense of pressure to work faster, and another 30% sometimes do.
- Injury (53%) and burnout (78%) are elevated among those feeling pressure to work faster always/most of the time.
- 60% experience more workplace monitoring at Amazon than at previous jobs, 9% experience less monitoring, and 17% say the level is about the same.
“It is concerning that most Amazon warehouse workers need to take unpaid time off due to pain or exhaustion as a kind of tacit condition of working at the company,” said Dr. Sanjay Pinto, a co-author of the report. “This reduces workers’ paychecks in the immediate term. The magnitude of the health toll captured in the data should also raise concerns about potential long-term effects on well-being, medical costs, future employment, and overall economic security.”
The report concludes:
“The findings of this study indicate that a large share of people laboring in Amazon warehouses are suffering from having worked there, with many reporting pain and injury as well as burnout and other forms of psychosocial stress … Amazon has been heralded as a quintessential “innovator,” reshaping norms and practices in the warehousing industry and the economy more broadly. But our survey data suggest that its drive towards ever-greater speed and efficiency carries significant costs that are being displaced onto its workforce.”