Amazon workers face ‘increased risk of mental illness’

“A BBC investigation into a UK-based Amazon warehouse has found conditions that a stress expert said could cause ‘mental and physical illness,” BBC News reports. “Prof Michael Marmot was shown secret filming of night shifts involving up to 11 miles of walking – where an undercover worker was expected to collect orders every 33 seconds. It comes as the company employs 15,000 extra staff to cater for Christmas.”

“Undercover reporter Adam Littler, 23, got an agency job at Amazon’s Swansea warehouse. He took a hidden camera inside for BBC Panorama to record what happened on his shifts. He was employed as a ‘picker,’ collecting orders from 800,000 sq ft of storage,” The Beeb reports. “Prof Marmot, one of Britain’s leading experts on stress at work, said the working conditions at the warehouse are ‘all the bad stuff at once.’ He said: ‘The characteristics of this type of job, the evidence shows increased risk of mental illness and physical illness.'”

“The scanner tracked Mr Littler’s picking rate and sent his performance to managers. If it was too low, he was told he could face disciplinary action.

When Mr Littler worked night shifts his pay rose from the daily rate of £6.50 per hour to £8.25 per hour,” The Beeb reports. “After experiencing a ten-and-a-half-hour night shift, he said: ‘I managed to walk or hobble nearly 11 miles, just short of 11 miles last night. I’m absolutely shattered. My feet are the thing that are bothering me the most to be honest.'”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Mac” for the heads up.]

34 Comments

  1. Amazon should invest much more in robotics, automation, and AI. Technology is constantly improving and Amazon needs to do much more to take advantage of it in their logistical system. In the not too distant future, they will be able to run every single one of their warehouses with just a few people.

    1. I heard your Uncle Michael made up that story and had actually STOLEN that white Mercedes. Currently he’s being held in lockup in San Diego and trial is being scheduled. Problem was he wasn’t making any money on that site of yours and went broke, leading to his life of crime.

  2. Lol…Amazon behind the times…relying on minimum wage slaves to do their fetch and carry. It’s almost 15 years ago that I was doing inventory management software for tethered robot buggys in an AS/RS system and all they had to do was follow a white line back to a base station and not run into another buggy. They really ought to invest more in their workers. Modern fully auto systems have a five minute charging nap every hour…this guy got less than that!

  3. So the point is…?

    Menial work is hard, tiring and low paid. Good one Sherlock, that’s why people prefer office and management positions if they can get them.
    Be happy the work is regular, your minimum wage is higher than most other countries, you’re out of the cold weather and the company isn’t about to go under.
    Welcome to your first real job!

    1. And yet, most people graduating from university to get those “amazing” white-collar jobs are finding that there’s not much out there and that the pays is not much better than Starbucks, but are saddled with student loans.

      Better to go into the trades. Skilled workers will always be in demand, are much harder to outsource, and are getting paid better than most office jobs.

      1. I get what you are saying. I skipped the college thing and went straight into business for myself out of high school. After 15 years (10 plus years ago) of physical work I took a corporate job in the same industry. To be honest, this place functions because of the trade workers they’ve hired. It’s a niche industry and outsiders don’t quite get it. The advantage of having a skill is no one can take it away from you. If you are good you will always have work.

    1. It certainly is arse over tip at Amazon.

      Another favorite bizarre Amazonian artifact is the ‘Panic‘ button on their high end Kindle Inferno thing, or whatever it is. Like that’s not going to be a massive loss leader, profit muncher, red ink leaker, levee buster. Wait a few months and watch the ‘Panic’ button either go inert, OR the support people at Amazon go mental and start abusing customers.

      Good technical support costs good money. I have no idea how Amazon expects to work around this rule, therefore, I expect they won’t, which will end up ticking off their customers, with Amazon dumping them off at:

      http://www.bitemyass.com

      [Hi botvinnik!]

        1. Who? Me? Making insulting conjectures about Amazon? Or russ pointing out the fact that Amazon has no working profitable business model, despite slave wages for extraordinary labor? Or my pointing out that ‘good technical support costs good money’? Or are you being snarky? Oh, and where’s Mickey? Still a kewl avatar.

            1. I loved this part –

              “And the usefulness of vagueness sarcasm is ?”

              Such as this…

              “Like that’s not going to be a massive loss leader, profit muncher, red ink leaker, levee buster. Wait a few months and watch the ‘Panic’ button either go inert, OR the support people at Amazon go mental and start abusing customers.”

              What happened to you, man?

            2. MDN has descended into the same mindless, yes-bot culture that I saw when I was working at Microsoft. It used to be fun to lambaste MS and others with truth to oppose FUD. Now you’re all just trading bullshit.

              Have fun with that.

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