Amazon criticized over high number of warehouse ambulance call outs

Paramedic crews have treated Amazon workers for suspected strokes, convulsions, chest pains and various injuries from accidents. Picture: SWNS
Paramedic crews have treated Amazon workers for suspected strokes, convulsions, chest pains and various injuries from accidents. Picture: SWNS
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Amazon has defended its health and safety record after it was revealed that ambulances were sent to its main Scottish warehouse on 43 occasions last year.

Last year, it was reported that workers at Dunfermline had been threatened with the sack if they took four days off sick, even if they had a doctor’s note.

GMB Scotland Organiser Helen Meldrum said: “These are shocking statistics but given the long-standing history of concern over the working conditions in Amazon, I can’t say that I am surprised.

“This lends weight to our arguments that Amazon must open up to trade union recognition.

“Ultimately this is a giant multinational which has received significant public money yet continues to go about its business in an unacceptably opaque manner.”

Thousands of extra temporary staff have been drafted in to cope with workers regularly walking up to 15 miles a day during a shift to get orders ready.

But insiders say the ambulance call-outs reveal workers struggling to cope with the pressure of mounting workloads.

Amazon bosses have defended how it treats its workers saying the number of call-outs - including 999 emergencies - is small compared to the size of its workforce.

An investigation has discovered the internet giant’s two Scottish warehouses - the larger base in Dunfermline in Fife and one in Gourock, Renfrewshire - have seen hundreds of calls to emergency services in the last three years.

Ambulance 999 calls have seen paramedic crews dash to the bases - known as fulfilment centres - to treat workers for suspected strokes, convulsions and chest pains, as well as the fall-out from industrial accidents, falls and cuts.

In 2016, the last full year of records, the Scottish Ambulance Service sent out emergency crews 43 times to the warehouse on the outskirts of Dunfermline in Fife.

The emergency call-outs included 15 of the most serious classification Category A calls, with 23 staff members taken to nearby hospitals.

Those 999 calls included two workers treated for falls, a call regarding “traumatic injuries” and two calls for help after “industrial accidents”.

This year, with records only going up to October, paramedics have been called 13 times with nine workers taken to hospital from the distribution centre.

Those call-outs include staff falling unconscious, suffering chest pains and convulsions.