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Legislators Express Concerns Regarding Worker Safety in Amazon Warehouses

U.S. lawmakers have turned their attention to Amazon and its top leadership, posing inquiries about the negligence in safeguarding its warehouse staff. Over the past decade, the frequency of injuries sustained by Amazon warehouse employees has remained disturbingly high. In 2022, for instance, there were 6.6 severe injuries for every 100 Amazon workers. This is twice the rate of injuries among warehouse workers in general.

Employees of Amazon who have suffered severe injuries while on the job may have a legal basis to take action against the company. Injured employees who can demonstrate that their injuries resulted from their employer's deliberate or intentional disregard for their safety can seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. 

Statistics on Amazon Warehouse Injuries

On average warehouse workers face a greater risk of injury compared to other types of employees. In 2021, there were 3.2 warehouse workers who sustained serious injuries for every 100 employees. In contrast, the overall worker injury rate stood at 2.8 injuries per 100 employees.

However, Amazon workers appear to be exposed to an even riskier work environment. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 6.6 Amazon warehouse employees suffered severe injuries on the job, indicating that Amazon's warehouse workers experience an injury rate twice as high as the industry average.

Legislators Urge Amazon to Enhance Warehouse Worker Safety

Earlier this year, Senator Bernie Sanders who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), initiated an investigation into what he characterizes as "hazardous and unlawful" conditions that Amazon warehouse workers endure.

Senator Sanders maintains that Amazon is best positioned to implement the necessary changes to reduce the injury rate among warehouse workers. However, Sanders alleges that Amazon and its top executives have fostered a corporate culture that treats workers as expendable.

Sanders' stance is supported by a study indicating that the turnover rate at Amazon for warehouse and storage employees was 150%, significantly higher than the approximately 60% average turnover rate for retail employees in the U.S.

Sanders has also provided Amazon with a list of suggested improvements to enhance worker safety, requesting that the company investigate each suggestion and provide a written report explaining why certain measures have not been adopted.

However, recent assessments by experts suggest that lawmakers may face challenges in compelling Amazon to implement proposed changes. As Amazon's injury rates peaked in 2020-2021, it insists that the company's injury rate is already declining. However, this is because of pandemic-era trends coming to an end, not changes in Amazon's policy. 

Compensation Available to Amazon Warehouse Workers

As a general rule, all companies have a legal responsibility to ensure a safe workplace for their employees. In a normal workplace injury case, employees seek recourse through a workers' compensation claim. This provides financial support for medical expenses and lost wages due to job-related injuries, but doesn't allow an employee to sue for negligence.

However, there is an exception in many states that allows workers to bypass the workers' compensation system. If they can demonstrate that the employer deliberately or knowingly disregarded workplace hazards, they can pursue a personal injury lawsuit instead. 

The differences between personal injury and workers' compensation cases lies in the range of available damages. Workers' compensation only covers some economic damages, namely medical treatment and lost income. Personal injury cases can cover additional economic damages as well as non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. 

Personal Injury Amazon Lawsuits

Taking a big corporation like Amazon to court can be a challenge. Reach out to an experienced law firm, such as the law firm of Console & Associates, P.C. at 866-778-5500 for help. Proven legal staff can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system and get the justice you deserve. 

About the Author
Richard Console
Posted - 11/01/2023