Learn how to get benefits after an injury in an Amazon warehouse
Amazon is the world’s largest e-commerce company, thanks to an online shopping boom. According to labor groups, the company also has the highest injury rate among its employees. According to data released by Amazon itself, the company has an injury rate of 5.9 serious injuries per 100 warehouse employees—a number that is 80 percent higher than its competitors.
This high injury rate is playing out right here in Indiana now that Amazon has created more than 20,000 jobs in Indiana since 2010. It now has 5 warehouses—called “fulfillment centers”—where hardworking Hoosiers are increasingly facing unsafe working conditions and reporting workplace injuries.
The good news is that most people who get injured while working in Indiana (including Amazon employees) can file a claim for Indiana workers’ compensation.
Workplace health and safety at Amazon
Warehouses owned by Amazon, where employees pack and ship millions of products, have some of the most dangerous health and safety conditions in the industry. Any warehouse demands strenuous work. However, with speed being such a prominent part of Amazon’s business model, their workforce often pays the price.
Generally, employees are required to stand in one spot during their shift. They also frequently have to bend down to pick up products and lift them above their heads. Additionally, this physical work comes with pressure to meet strict production quotas or risk losing their job.
While customers may receive their products quickly, employees face a greater risk of injury. Training on how to squat and bend may take a backseat to meeting quota demands. Instead of following safety practices that often take longer, employees rush to complete tasks in order to meet the expected goals for their shifts.
Amazon warehouse injuries can come in many forms. For instance, employees lifting and loading heavy boxes all day run the risk of having those boxes fall on them. The strain placed on their bodies can also cause serious injuries.
Constantly bending and exerting the body can lead to repetitive stress injuries.
In addition to the hazards of handling heavy boxes, Amazon warehouse employees are exposed to dangerous levels of noise from machinery, which can cause hearing loss.
That machinery and heavy equipment bring other unsafe conditions as well. Equipment failures, defects and malfunctions are all too common in the workplace. In addition, operating certain machines without the proper personal protective equipment, such as eyewear and gloves, puts employees’ health and safety at risk.
Furthermore, catastrophic injuries and deaths in the workplace can occur after being struck by forklifts or trucks.
Outside of the warehouse, being an Amazon driver comes with its own risks. Simply entering and exiting delivery trucks creates an atmosphere of danger. Some drivers have even fallen from the cab of their delivery trucks. Fortunately, most Amazon drivers and warehouse employees who have been injured on the job are also entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Common workplace injuries for Amazon employees
The inherently dangerous nature of working at an Amazon warehouse facility can lead to common injuries such as:
- Back or neck sprains
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Chronic pain
- Inflammation in joints
- Knee, shoulder or ankle injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Occupational diseases
- Broken bones after slip-and-fall accidents
Amazon employees’ rights to Indiana workers’ compensation
Repetitive stress or a traumatic event at work can lead to an injury or illness. Knowing what to do if this happens to you can help relieve the emotional stress of uncertainty. In the state of Indiana, most people have a right to receive monetary compensation for medical treatment and lost wages through the workers’ compensation program.
Additionally, Indiana law allows you to receive ongoing care and therapy to help you recover from a workplace injury. Getting the medical care you need may require taking extended time off work. Missed wages and worry about losing your job only add to the difficulties you face following a work injury.
Although Amazon has earned a reputation for making it difficult to receive benefits, you may still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
If you’ve suffered an injury at an Amazon warehouse, immediately report the incident to a manager or supervisor. Waiting too long could make it harder to establish a claim. An unexplained delay could also make it easier for the insurance company to deny your benefits.
Of course, in an emergency, go to the hospital as soon as possible. If you suffer a non-emergency injury, you will need to visit an employer-approved physician. During your visit, the physician will determine whether you are physically able to work.
Some employees are allowed to return to work with work restrictions. If this happens to you, do your best to show up for work. If your injuries make it impossible for you to perform your responsibilities as expected, let both your supervisor and the employer-approved physician know.
Consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney
Navigating the Indiana workers’ compensation system can be an extremely stressful and difficult process. Concerns about your employment status, lost wages and medical expenses may press heavily on your mind.
Help from an experienced workers’ comp attorney can ease your concerns. Consulting with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who understands your situation and knows Indiana law will help ensure that you receive all of the benefits you’re entitled to.
Your primary concern should be healing from injuries caused by Amazon’s unsafe work environment. The right type of legal representation comes from an attorney who knows how to hold Amazon and its insurance companies accountable for your workplace injuries.