Amazon is one of the largest employers in our state. Earlier this year, Geekwire reported that the company has 153,000 employees in California alone. A significant share of Amazon employees work in the warehouse. Notably, in the most recent Letter to Shareholders, CEO Jeff Bezos stated that the company is putting more emphasis on workplace safety issues.
Specifically, the letter highlights the company’s finding that 40% of all on-the-job injuries reported at Amazon are musculoskeletal. These are primarily sprains, strains, and repetitive trauma injuries among the warehouse workers. In this blog post, our Fresno workers’ compensation lawyer discusses the workplace safety disclosures made in Amazon’s 2020 letter to its shareholders.
Musculoskeletal Injuries are Usually Caused by Strenuous Activity
The term ‘musculoskeletal injury’ covers a broad range of specific conditions. In general, these are injuries caused by strenuous activities. Some of the most common examples of musculoskeletal disorders include:
- Muscle strains;
- Muscle tears;
- Ligament damage;
- Joint problems (wrist, elbow, shoulder, knee, etc)
- Tendinitis; and
- Lower back injuries.
In some cases, musculoskeletal injuries are caused by a single, highly stressful movement. An example would be a warehouse worker straining to lift an especially heavy box. In other cases, these injuries are caused by repetitive trauma. A warehouse worker may be forced to pressure on their lower back over and over again.
In taking a deeper dive into workplace safety issues, Amazon informed its shareholders that a disproportionate rate of musculoskeletal injuries are suffered by warehouse workers and other employees in their first six months on the job. This finding is consistent with other research on the issue. As an example, Safety+Health Magazine published data indicated that new workers (six months or less) are more than three times more likely to be hurt on the job than more seasoned employees. All employers should take note of these findings. Additional training and/or precautions should be in place to protect the health and well-being of new employees.
If you or your loved one suffered a serious musculoskeletal injury on the job, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim to medical coverage and temporary disability benefits for any lost wages. You can file a claim if your musculoskeletal injury was caused by a single strenuous incident (overexertion). You can also file a workers’ comp claim if your musculoskeletal injury developed gradually due to repeated strain (cumulative trauma).
Joseph C. Yrulegui is an experienced, effective workers’ compensation attorney. If you or your loved one suffered a musculoskeletal injury on the job, professional help is available. To arrange a completely confidential initial consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us today. With an office in Fresno, Mr. Yrulegui represents injured workers throughout Fresno County, including in Clovis, Reedley, Sanger, Selma, Parlier, Kerman, and Coalinga.