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Warehouse Workers’ Safety Is Dependent on Duty of Care

Golstein Heslop Steele Clapper Oswalt & Smith Sept. 23, 2021

In a negligence case, workers should know that their employers do owe them a duty of care. Employers have a responsibility to maintain a safe workplace so that all employees have the best chance of avoiding injuries.

Warehouse workers are at risk of being hurt in many ways ranging from repetitive-strain injuries to slip-and-fall accidents. Take, for example, the case of Amazon’s warehouses. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that Amazon’s warehouses had higher injuries rates than other similar workplaces for the fourth year in a row. In a June 2021 report, it was shown that there were 5.9 serious injuries per every 200,000 hours worked. Comparatively, in Wal-Mart’s warehouses, only 2.5 serious injuries happened in that same amount of time.

So, what’s driving the increase in injuries in Amazon’s warehouses? OSHA officials believe that the performance and productivity goals play a role. With heavy pressure on workers to handle fulfillment and delivery as quickly as possible, quotas are high enough to increase the risk of injuries.

Amazon argues that it records all injuries aggressively and won’t allow workers to return until they’re recovered. This suggests that the company does not believe that its peers are doing well as they were, despite the fact that the company had received a fine from OSHA for failing to report around 24 injuries that had happened in one of its warehouses.

Amazon Isn’t the Only Warehouse Where Workers Get Hurt

Amazon is not the only company that has workers who are at risk of suffering from injuries working in warehouses. Even if the rate of injuries is lower, other peer warehouses saw a significant number of injuries as well.

Companies have a responsibility to their employees, and being negligent in the workplace can lead to increased injuries. They must make sure that the environment is as safe as possible. Simple changes like improving ergonomics, training employees to lift correctly and making sure goals for productivity are obtainable all make a difference. If an employee is injured, they should have an opportunity to seek workers’ compensation, so that they can take the time off that they need as they focus on their recovery.