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Ambulances went to Amazon warehouses once every two days last year as workers collapsed

UK News

Ambulances were called to an Amazon warehouse in the UK once every two days last year as workers suffered collapses and breathing problems. 

The company’s 11 UK warehouses, known as ‘fulfillment centres’, were attended by ambulances 606 times since 2016. 

And in 2018 alone there were 193 ambulance calls, according to a Sunday Times investigation. 

The company's 11 UK warehouses, known as 'fulfillment centres', were attended by ambulances 606 times since 2016

The company's 11 UK warehouses, known as 'fulfillment centres', were attended by ambulances 606 times since 2016

The company’s 11 UK warehouses, known as ‘fulfillment centres’, were attended by ambulances 606 times since 2016

And in 2018 alone there were 193 ambulance calls, according to a Sunday Times investigation

And in 2018 alone there were 193 ambulance calls, according to a Sunday Times investigation

And in 2018 alone there were 193 ambulance calls, according to a Sunday Times investigation

The investigation also found a member of staff who said they were disciplined when they didn’t finish a shift after becoming ill at work and getting taken to hospital. 

In the past three years a pregnant member of staff at the Daventry warehouse collapsed with convulsions, another worker fell from a 10-foot walkway at a warehouse in Leicestershire and a driver at another depot was left with a traumatic injury after being hit by a metal bar.

Dunstable’s 1,800-strong warehouse saw the highest number of callouts and was attended by ambulances 95 times from 2016 to August this year.  

In the past three years a pregnant member of staff at the Daventry warehouse collapsed with convulsions, another worker fell from a 10-foot walkway at a warehouse in Leicestershire and a driver at another depot was left with a traumatic injury after being hit by a metal bar

In the past three years a pregnant member of staff at the Daventry warehouse collapsed with convulsions, another worker fell from a 10-foot walkway at a warehouse in Leicestershire and a driver at another depot was left with a traumatic injury after being hit by a metal bar

In the past three years a pregnant member of staff at the Daventry warehouse collapsed with convulsions, another worker fell from a 10-foot walkway at a warehouse in Leicestershire and a driver at another depot was left with a traumatic injury after being hit by a metal bar

The most common reasons ambulances were called to Amazon warehouses were fainting, breathing problems and chest pain. 

From January 2016 to August 2019 there were 159 cases of chest paint, 85 of staff being found unconscious, 51 of breathing problems, 38 for trauma, 20 for falls and two electric shocks at seven warehouses. 

Staff at the Ford engine plant in Bridgend, Wales, which has 1,700 staff, only called for ambulances 19 times during the same time period. 

And at the Ocado warehouse in Tamworth, Staffordshire, which has 1,500 workers, there have been only three ambulance visits since 2016.

The investigation also found a member of staff who said they were disciplined when they didn't finish a shift after becoming ill at work and getting taken to hospital

The investigation also found a member of staff who said they were disciplined when they didn't finish a shift after becoming ill at work and getting taken to hospital

The investigation also found a member of staff who said they were disciplined when they didn’t finish a shift after becoming ill at work and getting taken to hospital

A 2018 poll of 100 Amazon workers found that more than half were suffering with depression and eight said they’d thought about killing themselves. 

One worker said: ‘People just peed in bottles because they lived in fear of being ­disciplined over ‘idle time’ and ­losing their jobs just because they needed the loo.’

He said the warehouse in Rugeley is like a prison with airport-style security ­scanners where workers are checked and patted down in case they steal.

‘The security guards at Amazon were endowed with a great deal of power, which included the right to search your car if they suspected you of stealing something.’

A 2018 poll of 100 Amazon workers found that more than half were suffering with depression and eight said they'd thought about killing themselves

A 2018 poll of 100 Amazon workers found that more than half were suffering with depression and eight said they'd thought about killing themselves

A 2018 poll of 100 Amazon workers found that more than half were suffering with depression and eight said they’d thought about killing themselves

One worker said: 'People just peed in bottles because they lived in fear of being ­disciplined over 'idle time' and ­losing their jobs just because they needed the loo'

One worker said: 'People just peed in bottles because they lived in fear of being ­disciplined over 'idle time' and ­losing their jobs just because they needed the loo'

One worker said: ‘People just peed in bottles because they lived in fear of being ­disciplined over ‘idle time’ and ­losing their jobs just because they needed the loo’

Tim Roache, the general secretary of the GMB trade union, which has hundreds of members across Amazon sites, told the Sunday Times: ‘Behind the slick exterior lie working practices that owe more to Victorian workhouses than what we would expect of a reputable online retailer.’ 

The company said: ‘Amazon is a safe place to work. We benchmark against UK national data, published by the Health and Safety Executive, confirming we have over 40 per cent fewer injuries, on average, than other transportation and warehousing businesses in the UK.

‘At UK fulfilment centres, ambulance calls occurred at a rate of 0.000003 per worked hour, which is dramatically low.’ 

Amazon denies claims of workers’ stress in its warehouses, saying they’re not convinced the ‘staff polled’ actually worked for them.

From January 2016 to August 2019 there were 159 cases of chest paint, 85 of staff being found unconscious, 51 of breathing problems, 38 for trauma, 20 for falls and two electric shocks at seven warehouses

From January 2016 to August 2019 there were 159 cases of chest paint, 85 of staff being found unconscious, 51 of breathing problems, 38 for trauma, 20 for falls and two electric shocks at seven warehouses

From January 2016 to August 2019 there were 159 cases of chest paint, 85 of staff being found unconscious, 51 of breathing problems, 38 for trauma, 20 for falls and two electric shocks at seven warehouses

A spokesperson for the company said: ‘We haven’t been provided with confirmation the people who completed the survey worked at Amazon.

‘We don’t recognise these allegations as an accurate portrayal of activities in our buildings.

‘We have a focus on ensuring we provide a great environment for all our employees and last month Amazon was named by LinkedIn as the 7th most sought after place to work in the UK and ranked first place in the US.

‘Amazon also offers public tours of its fulfillment centres so customers can see first-hand what happens after they click ‘buy’ on Amazon.

‘Amazon ensures all of its associates have easy access to toilet facilities which are just a short walk from where they are working.’ 

DailyMail Online


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