Chronic injury to workers is a growing problem that seems to be ignored. Amazon, one of the most prominent online retailers in the nation, could be contributing to the issue. However, they seem to have one problem with physical damage to their workforce, putting hard-working, if not overworked, staff at risk of chronic injuries.
Authorities are claiming that Amazon has high rates of back and joint injuries in their workforce that are so severe that the damage could remain even if staff left the company for another employer. A study in Washington State revealed that these workers are four times as likely to become injured as they would in warehouses owned by another employer.
Financial penalties bring revelations
A recent fine shined a bright spotlight on e-tailer when federal safety regulators fined the company $60,269 for putting workers at risk for high-frequency and repetitive task injuries in warehouses from border to border. This past December saw another citation for Amazon not properly recording worker injuries.
An insider investigation in 2022 identified Amazon’s work pace plays a significant role in increasing debilitating muscle and joint injuries for warehouse staff. Essentially, day-to-day tasks were more about speed and less about safety.
When injuries are acknowledged, Amazon claims that its on-site first aid clinics lack appropriate staffing, training, and documentation of injuries required by federal law. Workers seeking medical care must secure treatment in those clinics for three weeks before they are “cleared” to see a medical doctor.
Amazon continues its pushback, referring to injury rates as selective. Donations in the millions of dollars to the National Safety Council to prevent musculoskeletal disorders. Workplace initiatives have taken the form of job rotation programs and daily stretches. Yet, chronic injuries continue with no end in sight.