Amazon is known for its customer convenience. With the click of a button, shoppers can select from millions of products to be shipped right to their door, usually within a day or two. While this is great for customers, it’s not so great for Amazon’s warehouse workers, who suffer serious injuries at a rate significantly higher than other warehouses. In North Randall, Ohio, the rate of Amazon warehouse injuries is one of the highest in the country.
Amazon workers are injured more frequently—and more severely—than in non-Amazon warehouses.
Adding insult to injury, many Amazon workers hurt on the job complain that they’re cast aside as damaged goods, pressured to return to work before they’re ready, and forced into light-duty work. For some of these workers, they continue to experience pain or suffer further injury. Others are fired when they fail to meet production quotas.
Amazon has promised to clean up its workplace culture, but while it accumulates record profits, workers safety continues to take a back seat. If you were hurt on the job at an Amazon warehouse, you have rights as an injured worker. Graham & Graham’s workers’ compensation lawyers work hard to protect the rights of hard-working Ohioans.
Behind the Smiles: Amazon Injury Data Cause for Concern
Jeff Bezos said recently that he wants to make Amazon “Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work.” The company has a long way to go. His comment comes amid the release of safety data showing that Amazon is currently one of the most unsafe places to work.
Amazon workers are injured more frequently—and more severely—than in non-Amazon warehouses. Every year, tens of thousands of Amazon workers are hurt on the job. According to an analysis of OSHA data, in 2020, the average injury rate in the warehousing and storage industry (per 200,000 hours worked) was 4.0. At Amazon, it was 6.5. Amazon warehouse workers are also more than twice as likely to suffer a serious injury at work, according to the Washington Post. A serious injury is one that requires job restrictions or days off from work.
Ohio Amazon Warehouse Injury Data
Ohio Amazon warehouses are among the most dangerous in the country, an analysis by The Center for Investigative Reporting shows. In 2018, the company’s North Randall facility had a serious injury rate of 15.3. The rate of Euclid, Ohio Amazon warehouse injuries was 9.8 in 2019, and the Etna, Obetz, and Monroe, Ohio, facilities all had injury worker rates above the national average. More than 40,000 Ohioans work in Amazon sites across the state. A new Union facility will be the state’s seventh fulfillment center.
Does Amazon Abuse the Workers’ Compensation System?
Amazon’s punishing work environment is well-documented. An obsession with speed and productivity forces workers to operate at an almost inhumane pace while under constant surveillance. Not surprisingly, turnover at Amazon warehouses is, like the rate of Amazon warehouse injuries, much higher than the general warehousing and retail industry. And this probably isn’t a coincidence. In fact, the company has long seen high turnover as a good thing because it avoids a stagnant workforce.
“Amazon doesn’t want any long-term workers,” said one employee. “They want you to work hard and fast and get rid of you when your body can’t take it anymore. That’s their business model.”
About 40 percent of injuries at Amazon are musculoskeletal disorders, Bezos revealed in a recent letter to shareholders. These include injuries caused by repetitive motions, such as sprains, strains, back pain, carpal tunnel, tendonitis, and hernias.
Amazon has publicly stated its commitment to reducing such injuries. But behind the scenes, the company has also changed the way it responds to workplace injuries. The Strategic Organizing Center (SOC) explains that Amazon introduced a new “temporary light duty” policy that creates positions for workers hurt too badly to perform their regular work duties. This is a common tactic that employers use to avoid paying workers’ compensation. However, light duty work offers must meet certain requirements under Ohio state law.
More than a third of Amazon workers told SOC that management pressured them to return to work before they were ready. Workers also complain about Amazon ignoring safety rules and regulations. In Ohio, this can lead to a VSSR workers’ compensation claim.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Representing Ohio Amazon Employees
The largest ecommerce retailer in the country is not above the law. They must follow safety rules and workers’ compensation laws that were put in place to protect workers.
Amazon runs on-site emergency clinics called AmCare for workers, but this is not a substitute for proper hospital care or the formal workers’ compensation process. Amazon can’t pressure you into returning to work over fear of losing your job. It can’t force you to return to work entirely on its own terms. And it can’t substitute internal policy for state statutes.
Injured Amazon workers in Ohio can count on Graham & Graham to assist them with the workers’ compensation process. We understand that after an on-the-job injury you will have many questions about what to do next. Our lawyers are here to answer your questions, represent you in all aspects of the claims process, and help you return to work safely. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation.