San Francisco: First-aid clinics at Amazon warehouses are directing injured employees to get back on the job, risking further injury, a Wired investigation has revealed.
Recent Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigations and Wired interviews with 11 on-site medical representatives (OMRs) who have worked at Amazon’s on-site first aid clinic, known as AmCare, “describe a system that can put employees at risk of further injury by keeping them working instead of referring them to appropriate medical care”.
OMRs, typically emergency medical technicians, have sometimes been encouraged to steer workers toward in-house treatment.
“Everything that we were doing was kind of pseudo-medical, enough to have the gloss of being medical,” an EMT (emergency medical technician) who worked in a Nevada AmCare was quoted as saying.
“When we’re in ambulances as EMTs, the entire point is to get people to definitive care. Then I get to Amazon, and it’s like, ‘No, we’re not getting them to a doctor’. So what did you need me for? I’m the person who gets people to doctors,” the EMT added.
According to the report, AmCare staff are not “qualified to diagnose and treat injuries”.
Officially, they provide only first aid. A company spokesperson disputed the findings, saying the company does not try to hide injuries.
“Any suggestion that we intentionally or systematically delay or discourage employees from seeking needed medical care is false,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.
In April, OSHA issued Amazon the third citation in the agency’s 53-year history for medical mismanagement, finding that it seriously endangered employees’ health.
Amazon had already received at least three warnings about AmCare from OSHA dating back to 2016, The Intercept reported.
Amazon’s safety report for 2022 said there was a 23 per cent reduction in recordable injuries for US workers between 2019 and 2022.