Amazon changes productivity benchmark for workers accused of warehouse injuries


Amazon.com Inc. is revising a controversial worker productivity benchmark that has angered warehouse workers who say it places a dangerous burden on them.

The world’s largest online retailer uses sophisticated algorithms to monitor the productivity of its facilities, and employees must explain why they’ve been away from their desktops – what Amazon calls a “time off task.” If they reach a certain threshold, they will receive warnings and even be terminated.

“As of today, we are now averaging time off over a longer period of time,” Dave Clark, general manager of Amazon’s global retail and logistics operations, said Tuesday in an article on Amazon’s corporate blog. Clark also said the company would no longer view a positive test for marijuana use as disqualifying when hiring new employees and support proposed federal legislation that would legalize marijuana.

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The company’s decision to revise its productivity goals coincides with a string of reports that Amazon’s warehouse injury rate is higher than its logistics peers. Some employees have identified the fast pace of work as a contributing factor to repetitive stress injuries. Workers also previously told Bloomberg that they were sometimes considered ‘off duty’ when using the bathroom.

Regulators in Washington state have discovered that there is a “direct link” between Amazon’s employee discipline and surveillance system and musculoskeletal disorders among workers at a company warehouse in Montreal. DuPont, Washington. Amazon said it would appeal the citation, which included a $ 7,000 fine, the Seattle Times and Reveal reported. During Amazon Prime Day’s sales rush last year, workers at a company warehouse in New York City said task leave protocols prevented them from following safety guidelines in the event of a pandemic.

Clark said the Time Off Task program was designed to identify flaws in workers’ tools and, secondarily, to identify underperforming employees. “The aim is to refocus the conversations on where there are likely to be real operational issues to be resolved,” he said. “We believe this change will help ensure that the duty leave policy is used as intended. “

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