Working conditions at Amazon warehouses have been a hot-button topic for a while now, but a new study shines a light on just how serious the problem really is.
According to researchers from the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC), Amazon warehouse workers have a serious injury rate that's 80% higher than the serious injury rate of all other warehouse workers who aren't employed by the e-commerce goliath.
In Northeastern Pennsylvania, Amazon continues to move closer toward opening a 1-million-square-foot warehouse at the Valley View Business Park in Jessup, which is expected to create more than 500 jobs in Lackawanna County.
Here's what you need to know.
Even Jeff Bezos sees there's a problem
Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder, recently said the online retail giant needs to do a better job for its employees.
Warehouse laborers often complain of harsh working conditions and intense pressure from above to meet unrealistic productivity quotas. This puts staff at a higher risk of getting injured in an on-the-job accident since they're required to pick, pack, and stow a pre-determined amount of items per hour.
The workplace injury data reported by Amazon to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and analyzed by the Strategic Organizing Center supports these claims.
In its report, the SOC notes the following.
- Amazon warehouse workers have the highest risk of injury: For every 100 Amazon workers, there were 5.9 serious injuries in 2020. Serious injuries are defined as any injuries that force an employee to miss work ("lost time injuries") or be placed on light or restricted duty.
- Other Amazon workers are in danger too: The serious injury rate for all Amazon employees in 2020 was 6.5 for every 100 workers.
What's being done to improve safety?
An Amazon spokesperson noted the company spent more than $1 billion in 2020 on programs and initiatives to train employees on how to avoid workplace accidents; provide workers with PPE (personal protective equipment); offer mental health and nutrition guidance, and implement coronavirus safety measures.
“While any incident is one too many, we are continuously learning and seeing improvements through ergonomics programs, guided exercises at employees’ workstations, mechanical assistance equipment, workstation setup and design, and forklift telematics and guardrails — to name a few,” Kelly Nantel said on behalf of Amazon.
Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos has vowed to cut worker injuries by 50% over the next 4 years by investing over $300 million this year in safety products.
Injured warehouse workers can file for workers' comp
If you're a warehouse worker in Pennsylvania who was injured on the job or developed a work-related illness, you have the right to pursue workers' compensation benefits through your employer's insurance.
"The problem is navigating Pennsylvania's workers' compensation system is overly complex, and if you miss certain deadlines, you might miss out on the benefits you need and deserve," says attorney Todd. J. O’Malley, founder of O’Malley & Langan Law Offices. "That's why you need an experienced attorney in your corner who can stand by your side and guide you through the entire process, every step of the way."
Our lawyers understand how difficult it is to go through the workers’ comp process in Pennsylvania by yourself — especially when you're injured and in pain. You don’t have to deal with this alone. Let us take care of the work while you focus your energy on getting better.
Sit down with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer from O’Malley & Langan Law Offices to see what we can do for you – there's no cost, no obligations, no pressure, just answers.
We have offices located in Scranton, Pittson, and Towanda. Contact us now for a free consultation.