Amazon’s Warehouse Robots May Be to Blame for the Increase in Workplace Injuries

Law Offices Of Kropach & Kropach

Many companies have come under scrutiny due to high workplace injuries. In 2019, UPS was trending as one of the biggest culprits with accusations that the company played down injuries’ seriousness. Walmart has always been on the list, working many employees just under full-time, evading full-time employee costs. Recently, Amazon has come under such examination. In the last five years, Amazon was trending with higher workplace injuries. To reduce the number of injuries, Amazon has installed warehouses with robots. Unfortunately, automation has led to unintended consequences.

At the Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach, our experienced team is certified in workers compensation. We believe every worker is entitled to a safe environment. If you or someone you know has been injured on the job, you need a certified workers compensation attorney in Los Angeles, California.

Automated Warehouses May Not Be the Future

Recently, records obtained by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting show higher injury rates in automated warehouses. Here’s why:

  • Before automatization, workers were required to hit quotas around 100 items an hour
  • Due to the efficiency of robots, workers had their quotas increase to 400 items an hour
  • If a worker does not hit their target, they are flagged and fired
  • Employees are not instructed on how to handle equipment safely or move their bodies, i.e., lifting, stacking, and other repetitive and strenuous activities
  • Former workers have come forward to say they frequently broke the rules to keep up with demand
    • Jump to reach top items
    • Lift heavy items by themselves instead of getting help
    • Bending instead of squatting to lift heavy objects

Adding to the sprains and repetitive stress injuries, employees revealed other unsettling experiences. According to one employee, when a gas leak permeated the Eastvale warehouse, workers were told to keep pace amid dizziness and vomiting. They were allowed to use personal time to leave.

Amazon to be Placed in Another Category for Workers Compensation

After injury rates skyrocketed in recent years, states are taking measures. In Washington state, new legislation has been proposed to create a separate risk classification for mega-warehouses. In the proposal, they define the new classification as a company that:

  • Has an online marketplace that can sell third-party merchandise and their own
  • Can offer same-day or two-day delivery options
  • Uses automated robots and vehicles within the facility
  • Can offer warehousing and order fulfillment to third-party sellers
  • Has their own name brand merchandise retail

Amazon is the only company covered by the new classification. After a thorough review of warehouses, they found mega-warehouses are more hazardous and submit claims more often. The proposed rates for 2021 are 15% higher for Amazon under this new classification, while other warehouses have had their rates lowered by 20%.

Certified Workers Compensation Attorneys

While millions of employees go to work every day in a safe environment, other jobs are more hazardous in nature. When you are injured on the job and need a workers compensation lawyer in Los Angeles, California, the Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach is here. Contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 818-609-7005.

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