The Public Health Crisis Hidden in Amazon Warehouses

January 2021

We partnered with Warehouse Worker Resource Center to develop a research brief and two factsheets on the physical and mental health impacts that Amazon’s inhumane quota and tracking systems have on warehouse workers and delivery drivers.


We conducted a public health study in collaboration with Warehouse Worker Resource Center (WWRC) to examine how Amazon’s pace of work policies and practices affect worker health, safety, and well-being. We interviewed and surveyed Amazon workers, including full-time and part-time workers at Amazon fulfillment and delivery centers, and Amazon subcontracted delivery drivers at facilities in Southern California.

Our research draws on data we gathered as well as from existing literature on the health impacts of work stress, unsafe ergonomic conditions, and economic insecurity. With this data, we created a suite of resources including a research brief and national and California-specific factsheets revealing the physical and mental health impacts of working for Amazon.

Amazon’s policies have created a public health crisis for workers

Amazon’s policies create unsafe working environments that causes frequent injuries and chronic stress among workers, along with economic insecurity due to frequent firings and injury-related job displacement. Amidst the ongoing pandemic, the health risks are heightened as COVID-19 outbreaks continue to rise in warehouses. Amazon’s workplace policies are precipitating a public health crisis that impacts thousands of workers in California, as well as their families and our broader communities. Our findings reveal that Amazon workers are facing a triple threat to their health, including:

  • Nearly double the national average rate of warehouse workplace injury
  • Chronic stress from the workload and work quota system
  • Risk of contracting chronic and infectious disease due to lack of restroom access and inadequate COVID-19 protections
Recommendations to promote worker health and safety

Our findings reveal an urgent need for California policymakers and government agencies to create and enforce workplace standards that protect workers’ health and safety. We hope this research will be a tool for workers, advocates, and California policymakers to take the following urgent actions to protect public health:

  • Prohibit inhumane and hazardous production standards at Amazon and throughout the warehouse industry
  • Ensure working conditions are within an ergonomic framework
  • Implement stronger COVID-19 precautions at all Amazon warehouses and for subcontracted delivery drivers, including unlimited time for hand washing, proper and regular sanitizing of workstations, and accessible restrooms for drivers
Our research resulted in several products

Read the Research Brief