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Amazon.com under scrutiny for handling of workplace injuries

Online retailer Amazon.com has received some harsh criticism after an investigative report was published that revealed harsh working conditions in its warehouses. Amazon has 70 warehouses worldwide, including 17 that have opened within the last year. The fast growing company has always emphasized efficiency and fast shipping times, but many are questioning the real costs of doing business in this way. Specific concerns have surfaced about Amazon’s procedures regarding workplace injuries and workers’ compensation for employees in the warehouse.

Current and former employees who were interviewed by the Seattle Times told reporters that they are discouraged from reporting the cause of injuries if they occurred at work. They also say reporting injuries can lead to being fired. Amazon has publicized low rates of reportable incidents by OSHA standards, but some employees say that it is a result of manipulation, rather than safer conditions.

Claims for workplace injuries may be from single incidents or from injuries acquired over a long period of time. Employees are typically entitled to compensation and time off of work to recover from a workplace injury.

Amazon employees say that while they were provided with proper medical care for injuries that occurred on the job, they felt that serious injuries put their jobs in jeopardy. One manager said that he felt so fed up with working conditions there that he wrote an email detailing the issues to a vice president. He said that he was fired several days later for minor infractions.

Needless to say, employees who suffer from injuries while on the job deserve to be treated and sometimes to be compensated for those injuries. Especially in a physically demanding warehouse job, it’s important that employees know and assert their rights in the event of an injury.

Source: Seattle Times, “Amazon warehouse jobs push workers to physical limit,” Hal Bernton and Susan Kelleher, April 3, 2012.

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