More than 27,000 Amazon employees in New York and around the country were injured on on-the-job accidents in 2020 according to figures from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and many of them were warehouse workers. Large fulfillment centers can be dangerous places to work, but a study based on OSHA data released by the Strategic Organizing Center reveals that the rate of injuries at distribution facilities operated by Amazon are is far higher than than the industry standard.
Poor safety record
According to the report, 5.9% of the online retailer’s warehouse workers suffered injuries in 2020 that were serious enough to require them to take time off or perform only light duties. That figure is almost 50% higher than the injury rate for warehouse workers overall. The injury rate at warehouses operated by Walmart, which is Amazon’s largest competitor, was only 2.6%. The researchers behind the report say the higher number of workplace injuries at Amazon warehouses is a result of the company prioritizing speed over safety. This obsession with saving time may also be the reason why Amazon delivery drivers are injured almost 50% more often that UPS drivers. When questioned about the report, an Amazon representative said the company was taking steps to reduce injuries that include installing guardrails and deploying mechanical assistance equipment.
Staten Island warehouse
In November 2019, workers at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island launched a protest over what they called unsafe working conditions. The facility, which is known as JFK8, employs 3,000 people and has an OSHA Incident Rate of 15.2. That is higher than the average incident rate for sawmills and steel foundries. Even more worrying is only injuries that result in death, time off work or require hospital treatment are reported to OSHA.
When employers put policies and procedures into place that make death or serious injury inevitable, workers who are harmed may in some cases be able to file personal injury lawsuits as well as workers’ compensation claims. If you are injured in an accident that could have been caused by a malicious disregard for your safety, an attorney with experience in this area could help you with your workers’ compensation paperwork and examine the facts of your case to determine whether your employer acted with gross negligence.