Amazon is the largest employer of warehouse workers in the United States. By some metrics, nearly one quarter of all people who work in a warehouse in the U.S. are employed by Amazon. The company is still expanding its footprint. Amazon is scheduled to open a massive new 855,000 square foot fulfillment center in Fresno in 2022.
Unfortunately, there are serious concerns about worker safety in Amazon’s notoriously fast-paced warehouses. According to a report from The Press-Enterprise, a new study shows that warehouse workers at Amazon are twice as likely to be injured on the job than other warehouse workers. In this blog post, our Fresno workers’ comp lawyer provides an overview of the report.
The report in question comes from the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC), a non-profit worker advocacy group. The SOC analyzed comprehensive workplace safety from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It found that 34,000 workers in Amazon’s warehouse facilities suffered “serious injuries” on the job in 2021.
Based on the number of warehouse workers employed by Amazon and the rate of injuries sustained by these workers at other companies, the SOC determined that the “serious injury rate at Amazon warehouses is more than twice as high as the rate at non-Amazon warehouses.” Alarmingly, there was a spike in the total number of Amazon warehouse injuries in 2021.
There have long been concerns about workplace safety in Amazon warehouses. In fact, Amazon admitted the problem last year and California lawmakers even passed a bill designed to better protect worker safety. Digging deeper in the data from OSHA and the data that Amazon disclosed to its own investors, it becomes clear that musculoskeletal injuries are a huge source of the problem.
More than 50% of all injuries reported in Amazon’s warehouses and fulfillment centers are musculoskeletal injuries. This includes both overexertion injuries and repetitive stress injuries (RSIs). Notably, Amazon has previously disclosed that its warehouse workers are at the highest risk of suffering an injury in their first six months of employment. It is a serious concern given considering that the company has a relatively high worker turnover rate in its warehouses.
California Assembly Bill 701, which was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in the Fall of 2021, put new state-level workplace safety standards in place to help ensure that Amazon’s aggressive speed quotas do not put the health and well-being of workers at risk. More research will be needed in the coming years to determine the effectiveness of the law.
Joseph C. Yrulegui is an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. If you were hurt while working in an Amazon warehouse, we can help. Call us now or connect with us through our website to set up your fully private consultation. We represent injured warehouse workers in Fresno and throughout the surrounding area.