Warehouses are the backbone of retail operations in Pennsylvania and around the country. Vast buildings stock and distribute the goods that consumers order online or purchase at their local stores. The people working in these locations often perform physically demanding labor that greatly increases their chances of back injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders. Amazon, as perhaps the most high-profile warehouse operator in the nation, has recognized these risks and proposed solutions to protect warehouse workers from injuries that often are debilitating and reduce their quality of life.
Injury rates among warehouse workers
Research presented by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health showed that warehouse workers experience back injuries at eight times the rate of most other occupations. Overall, the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates that 7 out of every 100 warehouse employees will suffer an on-the-job injury.
These workplace injuries include back injuries and many types of musculoskeletal disorders. They can arise from overexertion or constantly repeating the same motion (a “repetitive motion injury”), or they can be the result of a fall from a ladder or a forklift accident. Injuries which are not directly attributed to a specific accident may be much harder to prove, but workers with any injury should seek legal advice when pursuing workers’ compensation benefits for any type of workplace injury.
Mitigation of injury risks
In a letter to Amazon shareholders, the company’s CEO acknowledged the risks faced by warehouse workers and promoted solutions. In 2020, the company started its WorkingWell coaching program across 250 locations that employed 859,000 people. The program educates workers about how to avoid injuries. Additionally, the company has also started rotational schedules that shift people between among different tasks to reduce repetitive motions.
New workers unfamiliar with physical labor face more risk of injury during their first six months on the job. Alternatively, older workers may become injured after years of wear and tear. Workers’ compensation insurance is meant to pay for treatment in these situations and will provide a wage loss benefit if the injured worker is unable to earn his or her preinjury average weekly wage due to the work injury. Contact a local certified specialist workers’ compensation attorney today to learn more about your rights if you are injured at work.