At more than 100 Amazon fulfillment centers across the United States, workers are closely monitored down to the second on how long it takes them to do their job – from loading bins with products to packing boxes and sealing packages so they land “smile side up” at the customer’s door.
But workers say this intense focus on speed has led to serious injuries that put them out of work for weeks at a time. Amazon closely guards its safety logs and won’t share these numbers with journalists or the public. But through a federal regulatory requirement, reporter Will Evans was able to obtain injury logs from more than 20 fulfillment centers across the U.S. and delve into the company’s opaque safety record.
Evans found that the serious injury rate at these warehouses is more than double the industry average. At some centers, it is four to six times the average. In the first of a two-part series with PBS NewsHour, Reveal takes a first-ever look at safety records maintained by the nearly trillion-dollar company.
Reporter: Will Evans
Data Reporter: Melissa Lewis
Managing Editor: Andrew Donohue
Producer: Rachel de Leon
Videographers: Rafael Roy, Rachel de Leon
Production Assistant: Skyler Glover
Consulting Producer: Katharine Mieszkowski
Senior Producer/Editor: David Ritsher
Senior Producer: Adam Raney
Executive Editor: Esther Kaplan
Executive Producers: Amanda Pike, Sara Just
Editor in Chief: Matt Thompson
Additional Reporting: Hannah Young and Byard Duncan
Rachel de Leon is a reporter and producer for TV and documentaries for Reveal. De Leon has worked in video for more than 10 years as a videographer and producer. Throughout 2017, she was the coordinating producer for Glassbreaker Films – an initiative from The Center for Investigative Reporting to support female filmmakers – helping to produce five half-hour documentaries for national and festival distribution, and more than 20 online minidocumentaries. In 2016, she won two Emmys for her work on the web series "The Dead Unknown" and the PBS NewsHour segment "Deadly Oil Fields." In 2014, she completed her first short documentary, “Cab City,” for her master’s thesis in the documentary program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. De Leon is based in Reveal’s Emeryville, California, office.
More by Rachel de Leon
Will Evans is a senior reporter and producer for Reveal, covering labor and tech. His reporting has prompted government investigations, legislation, reforms and prosecutions. A series on working conditions at Amazon warehouses was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and won a Gerald Loeb Award. His work has also won multiple Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards, including for a series on safety problems at Tesla. Other investigations have exposed secret spying at Uber, illegal discrimination in the temp industry and rampant fraud in California's drug rehab system for the poor. Prior to joining The Center for Investigative Reporting in 2005, Evans was a reporter at The Sacramento Bee. He is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.
More by Will Evans