Andy Jassy has written his first letter to shareholders since becoming Amazon CEO, and he emphasized the company’s focus on worker safety.
Amazon has been criticized for having a higher rate of workplace injuries in its warehouses than competitors, with its injury rate going up 20% in 2021. Despite the increase, Jassy says its injury rates are “misunderstood,” an the company is committed to improving safety even more.
Our injury rates are sometimes misunderstood. We have operations jobs that fit both the “warehousing” and “courier and delivery” categories. In the last U.S. public numbers, our recordable incident rates were a little higher than the average of our warehousing peers (6.4 vs. 5.5), and a little lower than the average of our courier and delivery peers (7.6 vs. 9.1). This makes us about average relative to peers, but we don’t seek to be average.
Jassy says that he focused on looking for a “silver bullet” to improve worker safety when he first became CEO, ultimately not finding it. He did, however, help implement a number of additional measures aimed at tackling the problem one step at a time.
We have a variety of programs in flight (e.g. rotational programs that help employees avoid spending too much time doing the same repetitive motions, wearables that prompt employees when they’re moving in a dangerous way, improved shoes to provide better toe protection, training programs on body mechanics, wellness, and safety practices). But, we still have a ways to go, and we’ll approach it like we do other customer experiences—we’ll keep learning, inventing, and iterating until we have more transformational results. We won’t be satisfied until we do.
Jassy has already developed a reputation as a hands-on CEO, personally intervening to help customers receive resolution to issues they’re having. His approach to improving worker safety appears to be another example of his leadership style.