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California Bill Looks to Protect Workers from Dangers in Warehouse Workplaces

 Posted on September 07,2021 in Workers' Compensation

California workers comp injury lawyersThere are a number of dangers that warehouse workers are exposed to every day that expose them to high risks of being injured. For example, warehouse workers are around forklifts every day, but forklifts are also considered one of the biggest hazards to worker safety, responsible for more than 100,000 work accidents each year. Warehouse workers also suffer injuries because of conveyor belts, working on loading docks, storage of materials, and the manual lifting and handling of materials they are required to do.

As dangerous as working in a warehouse can be, data reveals that Amazon warehouse workers are especially at risk. This has led to lawmakers in California to take steps that would require Amazon to be more transparent about their practices and ban some of the policies Amazon currently has in place.

Major Growth of Amazon

There is no doubt over the past several years, Amazon has dominated online shopping, surpassing all of their competitors. That domination increased even more with the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many millions of people staying home and avoiding retail businesses, Amazon saw their revenue soar to $368 billion in 2020. The company also ended the  year with 950,000 employees, the majority of those employees working in fulfillment centers. Amazon is the country’s second-largest employer, following Walmart, which is at number one.

Unfortunately, several independent investigations and studies have shown that Amazon worker injury rate is almost twice that of the warehouse industry in general. Last year, there were 6.5 injuries for every 100 Amazon workers. Walmart’s warehouse worker injury rate was 2.5 injuries for every 100 workers.

In one investigation, conducted by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, reporters were able to obtain weekly injury numbers and internal safety reports from Amazon’s 150 fulfillment centers around the country. These and other company records revealed that Amazon consistently misled lawmakers and the public on its worker safety record.

For example, the internal records revealed that in 2019, Amazon fulfillment centers recorded 14,000 serious injuries. Injuries are deemed as serious if they require the employee to take time off to recover or work with job restrictions. The number of injuries is especially high during the company’s Prime week and holiday season, as well as in warehouses that use robotics.

Proposed Legislation

The number of warehouse worker injuries at Amazon could begin repeating at other retailers, such as Walmart, as they begin to provide customers with the same next day delivery – and face the same delivery schedule pressures – that resulted in the massive expansion of Amazon. This concern for warehouse worker safety has resulted in passage of AB-701 Warehouse distribution centers by the California Assembly. It is now heading to the Senate for a vote.

If the bill becomes law, it will prohibit warehouses from issuing “time off task” penalties that Amazon workers face when they fall short of productivity quotas, including when they take bathroom breaks, as well as prohibit retaliation against any workers who complain about the penalties. The bill would also force Amazon and other companies to disclose work speed metrics and quotas to government agencies and employees.

Contact a Gilroy, CA Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you work in a warehouse and have suffered injuries during the course of your job duties, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits that will cover all of your medical expenses, as well as provide you with a percentage of your weekly wage. Depending on the extent of your injuries, there may be other benefits you are entitled to. To learn more, call Cramer + Martinez at 408-848-1113 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation with one of our seasoned Morgan Hill, CA warehouse injury attorneys.



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