A new report from BuzzFeed News and ProPublica investigates the human costs of Amazon’s extremely fast delivery system. According to the report, the e-commerce giant has sacrificed worker and contractor safety in the name of profit and efficiency, including denying one executive’s safety plan including initiatives like providing more driver breaks, because it would cost Jeff Bezos’ empire 4 cents a package to implement.
A report from BuzzFeed News and ProPublica investigates how Amazon’s delivery logistics department has prioritized speed and cost over employee safety. The report alleges that Amazon officials have repeatedly ignored or overlooked signs that the firm was overloading its delivery network while failing to provide employees with the training and oversight that delivery firms such as UPS give its employees.
BuzzFeed and ProPublica interviewed a number of former and current Amazon employees including delivery drivers and contractors. These interviews appear to show how the company repeatedly delayed safety initiatives out of concern that it could jeopardize its mission of satisfying customers with fast delivery times.
From the report:
In the early days of Amazon’s expansion into logistics, executives wrestled over what price to put on safety. One shot down another’s plan to boost safety by giving drivers longer rest breaks and capping the number of packages per route. Those measures would have cost 4 cents per package.
Several years later, an audit team found that some delivery contractors were exploiting drivers or failing to carry enough insurance. Amazon chose to lay off the head of the audit team, according to people familiar with the matter.
Last year, as the number of packages soared, one manager simply dialed up the speed on the conveyor belts in a delivery station, injuring workers and prompting an internal investigation, documents show. To get the ever-increasing volume of packages to customers, Amazon rushed new drivers through the hiring process, adding one who had night blindness and another who acknowledged medicinal use of marijuana, company documents and interviews show.
One former employee told reporters that some drivers were being forced to deliver too any packages at an inhuman pace. “The means to the end is something they don’t care about,” said a former Amazon manager who quit in 2017. “If we are forcing these drivers to go like bats out of hell to get this stuff all over town, that’s OK, because we are making it great for our customers. The human cost of this is too much.”
Read the full report from BuzzFeed News and ProPublica here.