Amazon has a bad track record when it comes to workplace injuries at its warehouses.
In 2021, Amazon warehouse workers were seriously injured at work at over twice the rate as those who worked for Amazon’s rivals.
In total, Amazon workers suffered serious injuries at a rate of 6.8 injuries per 100 workers. Workers at other similar companies suffered only 3.3 serious injuries per 100 workers.
Though Amazon claims that worker safety is a major corporate focus, the company still expects its employees to work at a brutal pace.
Multiple inspections by Washington State determined that there is a direct link between the grueling pace of work and the heightened injury rates at Amazon warehouses.
The effort Amazon expects of its workers prevents them from taking the time they need to recover from minor injuries.
Over time workers exacerbate these minor injuries, leading to severe and even lifelong pain.
The excessive rate of injuries at Amazon facilities has led to multiple state and federal investigations. Unfortunately, these investigations move slowly, and many Amazon workers need relief quickly.
This dynamic makes it essential for workers to protect their own rights.
Understanding common Amazon warehouse worker injuries and what to do if you suffer one will help protect your rights.
Amazon Warehouse Worker Injuries
There is a wide range of warehouse injuries that Amazon workers suffer regularly. Common injuries workers suffer at Amazon warehouses include:
- Sprains and strains,
- Bone fractures,
- Lacerations, and
- Musculoskeletal injuries.
Each of these injuries can have severe life-long repercussions. Sometimes Amazon workers suffer multiple types of injury at once.
Sprains and Strains
Sprains and strains include any injury that results in a stretched or torn ligament, tendon, or muscle.
These injuries are among the most common in Amazon warehouses and warehouse workers in general. Strains can be caused by any falling, twisting, pushing, or pulling motion.
Bruising is another name for contusions. Though most bruises are minor and heal quickly, some can result from deep tissue trauma.
Severe contusions can disable a worker with severe pain and a lack of mobility for months. These injuries are usually caused by falling heavy objects or moving equipment.
Broken and fractured bones can severely impact a person’s ability to work.
Single incidents of severe trauma and repeated minor traumas over time can lead to fractures and breaks. Warehouse workers are regularly exposed to both of these risk factors.
Lacerations are deep cuts or tears in a person’s skin or flesh. These injuries usually happen quickly and require immediate medical attention.
A long recovery process and permanent scarring can stem from severe lacerations.
Working around heavy equipment and rushing to meet a quota significantly increase a worker’s risk of severe lacerations.
Musculoskeletal injuries affect a person’s bones, muscles, ligaments, nerves, or tendons. These injuries are the most common injuries suffered by Amazon warehouse workers.
Amazon warehouse workers are four times more likely than other warehouse workers to suffer a musculoskeletal injury.
They can be extremely severe and require months of time off to heal. Further, musculoskeletal injuries can build up over months through repeated trauma.
Causes of Amazon Warehouse Worker Injuries
Many risk factors lead to Amazon warehouse injuries. Common risk factors include:
- The unreasonably fast pace of work,
- Slip-and-fall hazards,
- The presence of heavy equipment,
- Lifting heavy objects, and
- Falling objects.
Each of these factors contributes to a work environment with a high likelihood of injury.
Pace of Work
Amazon sets strict productivity targets for its warehouse employees. Workers face discipline if they fail to meet these standards.
Even workers who have alerted their managers to a workplace injury may not be allowed to work at a pace that would enable them to recover.
This scenario leads to an increased risk of every type of workplace injury.
Rushing workers are less likely to follow safety standards, properly lift objects, identify workplace hazards, and take the time to let recurring injuries heal.
Amazon warehouses can potentially contain numerous slip-and-fall hazards. A slip-and-fall accident can lead to severe trauma and a lengthy recovery process.
In some cases, the victims of slip-and-fall accidents suffer lifelong injuries. Most of these injuries are preventable by maintaining a safe and orderly workplace and identifying potential hazards.
Heavy equipment injuries can be among the most severe that warehouse workers suffer.
Forklifts and other heavy equipment can cause severely broken bones, deep lacerations, loss of limbs, and even death.
For this reason, heavy equipment should always be used safely. Unfortunately, with strict productivity standards and a lack of proper oversight, workers can take unnecessary risks with heavy equipment.
Improperly lifting heavy objects is one of the leading causes of warehouse injuries. Workers can use improper lifts as a shortcut to reach productivity goals when working in a fast-paced environment.
Sometimes this means failing to use equipment to properly distribute the load when picking it up.
Picking up too many objects at once or lifting objects marked for a two-person lift without help can also lead to severe injuries.
Falling objects are another hazard commonly encountered by warehouse workers. Often warehouses have shelves stacked high with boxes and other heavy objects.
If the objects are not stored correctly or items underneath them are improperly removed, they can fall and cause severe injury.
What to Do If You Are Injured on the Job
There are a few steps you should take if you are injured at work. Following these steps will help ensure you receive warehouse workers’ comp for your workplace injury.
- Seek immediate medical attention,
- Inform your supervisor,
- Gather evidence to establish your case,
- File a workers’ compensation claim, and
- Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer to help guide you through the process.
The workers’ compensation claim process can be complicated. Often, the workers’ compensation insurance provider will attempt to minimize the payout or get out of paying altogether.
It is crucial that you take steps to protect yourself and your rights.
What Are Your Rights?
Understanding your rights after being injured at work will help you protect yourself and your co-workers. First, you have the right to seek immediate medical treatment for your workplace injury.
Second, you have the right to seek compensation for the injuries you suffered. Finally, you have a right to be represented by a lawyer throughout the entire workers’ compensation process.
Reach Out for Help
If you have suffered a workplace injury in North Carolina, Mehta & McConnell, PLLC can help.
With experience defending large corporations and insurance companies, our attorneys know how to represent clients in workplace injury disputes effectively.
We are a modern, technologically advanced firm that gives every case the detailed attention it deserves.
Contact Mehta & McConnell for a free consultation today so we can help you obtain the recovery you need.