Jeff Bezos’s Workers Comp Worries Covered In Final Shareholder Letter
Yes, Jeff Bezos’s Workers Comp concerns covered a specific type of injury. The concerns were so important to him that he actually included a large passage in his final letter to shareholders. Wow!
One of the more astounding articles I have seen covering Workers Comp injuries in quite some time hit my inbox last week. The title jumped off the page and ran around the room a few times. Jeff Bezos is obsessed with a common Amazon warehouse injury
I had to read on, and it was totally worth the time. Check out the last link to read the CNBC article. Disclosure – I do have investments in Amazon or mutual funds that invest in Amazon.
Jeff Bezos’s Workers Comp Worry Shared By All Employers
Below is the passage from Bezos’s final letter to his shareholders. Amazon has invested a large amount of time and funds into reducing this type of warehouse and repetitive motion injuries – better known as the ubiquitous musculoskeletal injuries.
This type of injury has driven a number of large companies and small manufacturers crazy over the past few decades.
The passage from the shareholder letter was:
We dive deep into safety issues. For example, about 40% of work-related injuries at Amazon are related to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), things like sprains or strains that can be caused by repetitive motions. MSDs are common in the type of work that we do and are more likely to occur during an employee’s first six months. We need to invent solutions to reduce MSDs for new employees, many of whom might be working in a physical role for the first time.
One such program is WorkingWell – which we launched to 859,000 employees at 350 sites across North America and Europe in 2020 – where we coach small groups of employees on body mechanics, proactive wellness, and safety. In addition to reducing workplace injuries, these concepts have a positive impact on regular day-to-day activities outside work.
We’re developing new automated staffing schedules that use sophisticated algorithms to rotate employees among jobs that use different muscle-tendon groups to decrease repetitive motion and help protect employees from MSD risks. This new technology is central to a job rotation program that we’re rolling out throughout 2021.
Our increased attention to early MSD prevention is already achieving results. From 2019 to 2020, overall MSDs decreased by 32%, and MSDs resulting in time away from work decreased by more than half.
We employ 6,200 safety professionals at Amazon. They use the science of safety to solve complex problems and establish new industry best practices. In 2021, we’ll invest more than $300 million into safety projects, including an initial $66 million to create technology that will help prevent collisions of forklifts and other types of industrial vehicles.
Jeff Bezos’s workers comp injury prevention measures were astounding. The title of the CNBC article contained the word obsession.
The Results From The Safety Efforts
One of the big MSD injuries that has been reduced by safety and preventative measures is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. When I adjusted claims in the 1980s and 1990s, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome was at epidemic proportions. The number of carpal tunnel injuries has been reduced by 50% since then.
Much of the reduction had to do with job changes and heavily using ergonomics in their safety measures.
What I found amazing was that MSDs were reduced in Amazon’s warehouses by 32% in one year. The effort earns my kudos to Amazon and Mr. Bezos.
One passage in the letter mentioned that the employees would carry the safety learned on the job to their daily lives. Jeff Bezos’s Workers Comp injury reduction efforts should be a guide to all companies.