According to Strategic Organizing Center’s report submitted to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Amazon’s injury rate was 70% higher in 2022 than the rate at non-Amazon warehouses, and its serious injury rate—6.6 per 100 workers—was more than twice as high as the non-Amazon facilities’ (3.2 per 100) rate. Recent reports of injured Amazon workers have shed light on an unseen world that exposes the harsh realities of long-term working conditions.
What Workplace Injury Looks Like At Amazon
Although Amazon has taken steps to reduce the risk of workplace injury, incidents do occur. In order to identify and address injury, workers must be aware of what to look out for. Common signs of workplace injury include physical pain, vision or hearing issues, or fatigue. Employees who experience any of these symptoms should speak up and report the problem right away.
Injury can also manifest in the form of psychological symptoms. Workers who are put in dangerous or uncomfortable positions are more likely to suffer from stress or mental health issues. Anxiety, depression, and insomnia are just some of the psychological issues that can result from workplace injury.
Delivery workers, including those employed by Amazon, may face various work injury risks, such as:
- Physical strain and repetitive tasks: The nature of the job often involves repetitive tasks, including lifting, carrying, and moving packages. This can lead to musculoskeletal injuries, strains, sprains, or back problems if proper lifting techniques are not followed or if the workload is excessive.
- Slips, trips, and falls: Delivery workers may encounter various terrains and weather conditions while making deliveries, increasing the risk of slips, trips, and falls. Uneven surfaces, icy conditions, or obstacles in the path can contribute to these accidents.
- Traffic accidents: Delivery drivers spend a significant amount of time on the road, which exposes them to the risk of traffic accidents. Factors such as heavy traffic, distracted driving, adverse weather conditions, and time pressures can contribute to the risk of collisions.
- Ergonomic issues: Continuous driving and sitting for extended periods can lead to ergonomic issues like back pain, neck strain, and posture-related problems.
- Exposure to extreme weather conditions: Delivery workers may be exposed to extreme temperatures, rain, snow, or other adverse weather conditions during their work. This exposure can increase the risk of heatstroke, hypothermia, or other weather-related illnesses.
- Time pressure and fatigue: The demand for fast and efficient deliveries can create time pressure on delivery workers. Long working hours and fatigue may increase the risk of accidents or errors.
To mitigate these risks and promote worker safety, it’s essential for companies like Amazon to have proper safety protocols and policies in place. These may include training programs on safe lifting techniques, vehicle safety, defensive driving, and guidelines for working in different weather conditions. It’s also important for workers to follow safety guidelines, use appropriate protective equipment, and report any potential hazards or injuries to their supervisors.
Common Causes of Workplace Injury at Amazon
These causes may vary depending on the specific operations, safety measures, and policies implemented by Amazon. Here are some common causes of injuries in warehousing and fulfillment settings:
- Overexertion and Musculoskeletal Injuries: Lifting, carrying, and moving heavy objects can lead to overexertion and musculoskeletal injuries such as strains, sprains, and back injuries. This is particularly relevant for workers involved in material handling and order fulfillment tasks.
- Slips, Trips, and Falls: Warehouse environments often have slippery floors, cluttered walkways, uneven surfaces, and elevated platforms, increasing the risk of slips, trips, and falls. Inadequate lighting or failure to use proper personal protective equipment (PPE) can contribute to these accidents.
- Repetitive Motion Injuries: Workers engaged in repetitive tasks, such as packing or assembly line work, may be at risk of repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendinitis.
- Falling Objects: Items stored at height or improperly stacked shelves can pose a hazard if they fall onto workers. Falling objects can cause head injuries, fractures, or other serious injuries.
- Struck by or Caught in/Between Objects: In a busy warehouse environment, workers may be at risk of being struck by moving equipment, vehicles, or heavy machinery. Additionally, getting caught in or between machinery, conveyor belts, or other equipment can result in serious injuries.
- Vehicle Accidents: In warehouses involving transportation and logistics operations, workers operating forklifts, pallet jacks, or other vehicles may be at risk of collisions, especially if there is inadequate training or insufficient safety protocols in place.
- Ergonomic Hazards: Poorly designed workstations, improper lifting techniques, and lack of ergonomic support can lead to ergonomic hazards, resulting in strains, sprains, and discomfort.
It’s important to note that Amazon places significant emphasis on workplace safety and has implemented measures to reduce the risk of injuries. They have safety training programs, guidelines, and technology-driven safety initiatives to enhance worker well-being. The specific safety protocols and initiatives at Amazon may vary, and it’s advisable to refer to official sources or consult with Amazon’s policies or representatives for detailed and up-to-date information on injury prevention measures at their facilities.
Amazon Workers are Eligible for Workers Compensation Benefits Under California Laws
California’s workers’ compensation laws apply to workplace injuries at Amazon and other companies operating in the state. If an Amazon employee in California suffers a work-related injury or illness, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Here are some key points to consider regarding Amazon and workers’ compensation in California:
- Reporting the Injury: In California, it’s important for employees to report workplace injuries or illnesses to their employer as soon as possible. Amazon has specific procedures in place for reporting injuries, and employees should follow those guidelines to ensure their claim is properly documented.
- Medical Treatment: If an Amazon employee in California sustains a work-related injury or illness, they are entitled to receive necessary medical treatment. The workers’ compensation insurance should cover the costs of reasonable and appropriate medical care related to the injury or illness.
- Temporary Disability Benefits: If the injury or illness causes the employee to miss work, they may be eligible for temporary disability benefits. These benefits provide wage replacement for a portion of the lost wages during the recovery period. The amount is generally two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage, subject to certain minimum and maximum limits.
- Permanent Disability Benefits: If the work-related injury or illness results in a permanent impairment or disability, the employee may be entitled to permanent disability benefits. The amount of these benefits depends on factors such as the severity of the disability, the employee’s age, occupation, and future earning capacity.
- Return-to-Work Programs: Employers, including Amazon, may offer return-to-work programs or accommodations to help injured employees transition back to work. These programs may involve modified duties, retraining, or other reasonable accommodations to facilitate the employee’s return to the workforce.
- Independent Medical Evaluation (IME): In some cases, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier may request an independent medical evaluation (IME) to assess the employee’s condition. The purpose of an IME is to provide an impartial medical opinion regarding the employee’s injury, treatment, and level of disability.
- Appeals and Disputes: If there are disputes or disagreements regarding a workers’ compensation claim, employees have the right to pursue an appeal or seek legal representation to protect their interests. It’s advisable for employees to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to navigate the process effectively.
Workers’ compensation laws can be complex, and the specific details and procedures may vary. If you or someone you know is dealing with a work-related injury or illness in California, it is advisable to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney or reach out to the California Division of Workers’ Compensation for guidance and assistance.
Injured at Work? Pacific Attorney Group Can Help You
The compensation benefits for injured Amazon workers can vary depending on the severity of the injury and the state in which the employee is located. In general, injured workers may be eligible for medical expenses, lost wages, disability benefits, and vocational rehabilitation. However, obtaining these benefits can be a complex and challenging process, especially without proper legal representation.
If you are an Amazon worker who has suffered a work injury, seeking help from a work injury law firm can be extremely beneficial. Amazon workers face a high risk of getting injured due to the nature of their work, and studies have shown that the rates of injuries are often higher than in other industries. Moreover, obtaining workers’ compensation can be challenging due to their status as subcontractors.
Pacific Attorney Group can provide legal representation to you and our team will ensure that injured workers receive the compensation and support they are entitled to, which can include medical expenses, lost wages, disability benefits, and vocational rehabilitation. Our Los Angeles work injury lawyers can also help navigate the complex legal system and ensure that your rights are protected.
Contact the experts at the Pacific Attorney Group and get a free initial consultation to discover your best legal options. We will help you get the maximum compensation that you deserve. And also our lawyers will walk you through each stage of the legal process and respond to any queries you may have.