Amazon Warehouse Workers are Suffering Serious Injuries at an Alarming Rate
Last month, our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys at Waple & Houk discussed the continuing prevalence of Walmart distribution center accidents and injuries and our role in holding the massive retail giant responsible for providing injured employees with the workers’ compensation benefits they are entitled to after suffering workplace injuries.
As the second-largest American employer and the most prominent e-commerce retailer, with over one million workers and rapidly expanding, Amazon’s warehouse labor practices have been subject to continued scrutiny for its rising injury rates.
With eight fulfillment centers in North Carolina, including two in Charlotte, Amazon has dedicated plans to add more fulfillment centers and delivery stations throughout the state.
However, the company’s growth and obsession with doing more in less time is placing profits over its employees’ safety. Amazon has made headlines for dangerous health and safety conditions in its facilities, and multiple researchers and journalists analyzed standardized records of worker injuries maintained at Amazon facilities.
They found that Amazon’s injury rates were over double those in the notoriously hazardous general warehousing industry. Government officials agreed.
“Amazon’s operating methods are creating hazardous work conditions and processes, leading to serious worker injuries,” explained Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “They need to take these injuries seriously and implement a company-wide strategy to protect their employees from these well-known and preventable hazards.”
While our Charlotte distribution center workers’ compensation attorneys could not agree more, the injury statistics contradict Amazon’s promises for change.
Comparing Amazon Injury Rates with Other Distribution Center Employers
The Strategic Organizing Center (SOC) is an independent coalition of four labor unions representing more than four million workers. It compares Amazon’s injury rates with those of the general warehouse industry and its biggest e-commerce retail competitor, Walmart.
During four years of analysis, SOC found that Amazon’s warehouses were far more dangerous than Walmart’s.
Amazon’s overall warehouse injury rate (6.5/100 full-time employees) was over twice that of Walmart (3.0). Workers at Amazon warehouses are not only injured more frequently than in non-Amazon warehouses but they are also injured more severely. Amazon’s severe injury rate (2.6/100) — defined as those requiring light duty and those preventing workers from returning to their jobs — was over two-and-a-half times Walmart’s (1.0/100).
What are the Most Common Causes of Amazon Warehouse Injuries?
At Amazon warehouses, injuries are typically caused by repetitive motions — lifting, straining, bending, pushing, pulling — thousands of times during a shift. Safety officials directly connect Amazon’s employee monitoring and discipline systems to workplace musculoskeletal disorders. As employees are increasingly asked to do more work in shorter timeframes, overexertion, and repetitive motion are the leading causes of these injuries.
If you have been hurt at work in an Amazon distribution center in North Carolina, contact our dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys in Charlotte today by phone at (704)-954-8697 or schedule a free consultation online to learn more about how we can help you pursue the best outcome for your injury claim.