retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Seattle Times reports that "insurance actuaries at the Washington Department of Labor & Industries" have identified what they say is a disturbing trend - that there is "greater risk of injury to workers inside Amazon’s high-speed e-commerce warehouses" than at "mechanized logging operations, law enforcement agencies, meatpacking plants and more than 260 other Washington industries."

As a result, the Times writes, "To reflect the greater risk of injury to workers inside Amazon’s high-speed e-commerce warehouses, state officials propose charging the commerce giant a higher workers’ compensation premium for its fulfillment centers … 

Public hearings are scheduled next week on the proposal, which follows several years of steadily increasing workers’ comp claims from injured fulfillment center workers."

The story says that "L&I’s move comes amid intensifying scrutiny of Amazon, even as its sales (and stock price) have climbed during the coronavirus pandemic. The company is accelerating the expansion of its logistics operations as people buy more goods online. Amazon has at least 24 logistics facilities in Washington state, according to a database maintained by logistics consulting firm MWPVL International, covering nearly 7 million square feet."

KC's View:

Yikes.

I don't even know what else to say.  If it is accurate that it is more dangerous to be an Amazon warehouse employee than a logger or a police officer, that is a bad look for Amazon.

The thing is, I would have to guess that other states will take notice of this revelation and will start to examine their own numbers.  

There's a line from the Society of Actuaries' "Fundamentals of Actuarial Practice," that says, “An accountant is someone who attempts to value the present. An actuary is someone who attempts to value the future."

As people drill down on these numbers, it certainly has the potential of casting a shadow on an important part of Amazon's future.