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What’s the human cost of Amazon’s quick delivery?

Millions of people who rely on Amazon for everything from household goods and clothes to food and electronics have come to expect most of their purchases will arrive within a day or two — particularly Amazon Prime members. However, what is the human toll of this race to deliver packages quickly?

Most people have seen or heard reports about poor and even dangerous working conditions at Amazon fulfillment centers where workers rush to fill orders. Workers at one center, during a protest, held up a sign that said, “We are humans not robots!

However, what happens after your package leaves the fulfillment center and is on its way to your door? In 2017, there were more than 5 billion packages sent to Amazon Prime members alone.

For drivers, the pressure to deliver the package on time can mean taking risks on the road and putting speed ahead of their own safety and well-being. Last year, Business Insider published a report based on interviews with almost three dozen drivers. Among other things, these drivers reported that:

  • They often have to exceed the speed limit to get their packages delivered before their shifts end.
  • After closing a door on his hand, one driver was told to finish his deliveries before getting medical attention.
  • Drivers don’t have time to stop to use public restrooms.
  • Drivers rarely take their allotted breaks (including lunch breaks) because doing so would prevent them from finishing their deliveries on time.

Another magazine, Inc., estimated that drivers have to deliver 200 packages in 8 hours. That gives them less than 2.5 minutes per package.

An Amazon spokesperson responded to the Business Insider article by saying, in part, “We have worked with our partners, listened to their needs, and have implemented new programs to ensure small delivery businesses serving Amazon customers have the tools they need to deliver a great customer and employee experience.” The company also claimed that about 90% of its drivers complete their deliveries before their shifts (including all of their breaks) end.

With Americans accustomed to being able to get just about everything delivered to their doors, more who make their living as delivery drivers (or bicyclists) are on the road. If you’re injured while doing your job, make sure you get the workers’ compensation and other benefits to which your entitled.

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