Lift & Tilt Podcast Episode 015 

Are Amazon Autonomous Warehouses More Dangerous?

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Date: 10/13/20

Host: Kurt Guntner

Overview: Kurt and Mandy discuss the Reveal investigative report regarding the increase in serious injuries at Amazon autonomous warehouses while sipping pumpkin spice coffee. Join Lift & Tilt as they navigate this pressing topic.

Are Autonomous Warehouses More Dangerous?

1) The Reveal Report Findings

The report shows unusually high rates of injury across the board, even compared with equivalent warehouses run by other companies. Amazon warehouses counted 14,000 serious injuries in 2019 (meaning injuries that require days off or job restrictions), and “the overall rate of 7.7 serious injuries per 100 employees was 33% higher than in 2016 and nearly double the most recent industry standard”.

2) Amazon’s Response

Amazon, in a statement to Reveal, said that “the use of robotics, automation and technology in our fulfillment centers is enhancing our workplace, making jobs safer and more efficient.”

2) Our Take

While data distortion may have an effect on the actual percent increase, it’s more likely that the increase in injuries are due to game theory production strategies and the learning curve associated with optimal operation and production processes to increase productivity while keeping employees safe.

Sources:
The Verge | Internal documents show automated Amazon warehouses have higher injury rates
https://www.theverge.com/2020/9/29/21493752/amazon-warehouses-robots-higher-injury-rates-report-reveal

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