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Injury Risk Factors for Amazon Workers

outside of warehouse with delivery trucksWorking in an Amazon fulfillment center, warehouses where orders are packed and shipped, is a mentally and physically stressful job, for many reasons. The productivity level expected of workers takes a tremendous toll and puts them at risk for many types of injuries.

Below, our workers’ compensation lawyers in Bakersfield discuss some of the dangers of this type of work. If you have been injured while working at a fulfillment center or warehouse, we are available to discuss your legal options during a free case review.

Physical and Mental Toll on Amazon Warehouse Workers

With Amazon constantly wanting to get packages to consumers as quickly as possible, workers are pushed to complete tasks as quickly as possible. Workers report that they must handle thousands of items in a day. If they do not meet their assigned quota, they can be written up and eventually lose their jobs.

Ergonomic Risk Factors

Warehouse workers may be exposed to ergonomic risk factors, such as:

  • Repeated bending at the waist
  • Repeated exertions
  • Standing during long shifts
  • Working mandatory overtime
  • Reaching for items in awkward positions

Psychological Toll

Being under constant pressure can have a psychological toll, too, such as causing anxiety and stress on workers. In one report from the New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health, 80 percent of workers at a New York fulfillment center said they often or sometimes felt that they had to work faster or harder. The report also found 63 percent of workers had their sleep negatively impacted because of their employment.

Complaints About Working Conditions

In 2018, Amazon was listed on the “Dirty Dozen” by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, signaling it as one of the most dangerous places to work in the United States. The company secured this listing due to its alleged pattern of unsafe working conditions and its focus on efficiency over the safety of its workforce.

The Guardian and The Atlantic have released stories about poor working conditions and injured employees who did not receive medical attention after being injured at work. Some of the complaints about working conditions at Amazon fulfillment centers included:

  • A woman who had to squat at full speed and then ascend a stepladder to keep up with her quota suffered bulging discs after just two months on the job. She can barely climb stairs and her condition is unlikely to improve.
  • A former safety inspector with Indiana’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported that a deceased worker was not properly trained on maintaining a forklift. The lift was supposed to be propped up by a metal pole while the deceased worker was working on it. Indiana OSHA issued four safety citations.
  • In October 2019, a warehouse worker injured her back while she was counting goods on a workstation that was missing a brush guard that was meant to prevent products from falling on the floor. She injured her back while standing in an awkward position to compensate for the lack of the brush guard. She was given a heating pad for her work and was sent home each day without pay.
  • In April 2018, a former worker at an Amazon warehouse filed a lawsuit against Amazon, alleging that he was fired for hurting his back and that Amazon failed to file a workers’ compensation claim on his behalf because he was “too young” to have back problems. He was fired before Amazon would authorize a doctor visit for the reported injury.
  • A former Pennsylvania warehouse worker also alleged that she was injured on a ladder while working. She said the company refused to give her paperwork for workers’ compensation and then cut her benefits to five weeks instead of 26. She was fired five weeks after the injury.
  • On January 1, 2019, employees started getting sick at a Texas warehouse after smelling gas in the plant. Several workers called 9-1-1 and were instructed by the dispatcher to evacuate the building. Employees who wanted to leave were told that they had to use their personal time despite some workers reporting that they had headaches or were feeling dizzy. The plant did not stop operations during the incident. The fire department found that wind had damaged a gas line, which caused gas to enter the building.
  • Current and former workers reported that their bathroom breaks were carefully monitored or their time was deducted after receiving a “time off task” label. Several workers reported developing urinary tract infections by not being able to stop working to go to the bathroom.

In several other situations, employees quit their jobs to avoid being injured. Some say that they are too scared to report their injuries because they fear retaliation.

Contact Us for a Free Case Review

An experienced lawyer from Berry, Smith & Bartell can explain your potential legal options if you were injured. The initial consultation is absolutely free and there is no obligation to take legal action. Our attorneys are not compensated unless you receive compensation.

For a free case evaluation with Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation call 1-800-848-6288 today!

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