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The Dangers Amazon Workers Face

The Dangers Amazon Workers FaceA video of an Amazon worker stuck in a shelf posted to TikTok has gone viral. The (now-deleted) video depicted the worker getting stuck in a shelf when one of the robotic shelves in the warehouse decided to go haywire, trapping him inside.

As described in Newsweek, the worker was trapped in an aisle as the robots blocked his point of exits at both ends. He also showed on the video that he couldn’t even climb through the shelf to escape.

Amazon has often been in the news for its treatment of employees, including the physical injuries they are subjected to as well as emotional and mental injuries. The Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at Gainsberg Law explain the dangers Amazon workers face and how you can obtain workers’ compensation benefits in today’s blog.

Amazon listed as one of the ‘dirty dozen’

Amazon was named as one of the dirty dozen of dangerous employers in the United States in 2018 and 2019 by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. Amazon was not on the dirty dozen list in 2020, but did appear under the dishonorable mention category.

Inclement weather kills six Amazon warehouse workers

It’s not just workplace dangers such as struck-by incidents, slip and fall accidents, or other hazardous conditions that have caused injuries and deaths of Amazon employees. Six Amazon warehouse employees were killed when a tornado tore through their building in Edwardsville, Illinois in December 2021.

Employees at the Edwardsville warehouse and two others in nearby St. Louis, which were in the path of the storms, complained to news outlets that they receive little to no training regarding tornado safety, are not allowed to use their mobile phones while at work, and are forced to continue working through tornado warnings.

The six employees died when a portion of the warehouse collapsed during the storm. An investigation has been opened into the collapse.

OSHA has had compliance officers at the complex since Saturday, December 11 to provide assistance,” said Scott Allen, the regional director of public affairs for the Labor Department. “OSHA has six months to complete its investigation, issue citations and propose monetary penalties if violations of workplace safety and or health regulations are found.”

Amazon has employee health and safety issues nationwide

The problems with the health and safety of Amazon employees is not an issue solely affecting those working for the company in Illinois. An Amazon warehouse in Alabama recently made the news when employees protested workplace conditions that led to the deaths of two employees in December, one of which had been denied sick leave and later died after suffering a stroke.

Amazon warehouses among the most dangerous in the country

According to a report from the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC), Amazon workers suffer serious injuries at a rate of 5.9 per 100 workers, which is 80 percent higher than the rest of the nationwide industry. Employees who had to miss work for injuries did so at a rate of 46.3 days, which is one week longer than the warehouse industry average.

The overall injury rate for Amazon employees is 6.5 per 100 people, which is more than double the rate of the company’s main competitor, Walmart, which has a rate of three per 100 people. According to an Amazon pamphlet, warehouse workers are expected to walk up to 13 miles per day and lift up to 20,000 pounds per shift.

Dangers of working for Amazon

Amazon employees, especially those working in the company’s warehouses across the country, are susceptible to dozens of injuries throughout their shifts. Some of these include the following:

  • Getting caught in a conveyor belt
  • Being struck by items falling from chutes
  • Being struck by or stuck in-between a forklift
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Swollen feet
  • Back injuries
  • Mental health issues
  • Hand injuries
  • Eye injuries

Amazon delivery drivers are also at risk of suffering injuries on the job. Aside from injuries suffered in car accidents, delivery drivers do a lot of walking and lifting during their shifts. They are susceptible to back, neck, arm, and leg injuries on top of the risk of being attacked by dogs at the houses where they deliver packages. Delivery drivers are also susceptible to assaults, by people who follow them to steal packages or carjack them.

Filing a workers’ compensation claim in Chicago

Injured Amazon workers can file a workers’ compensation claim in Chicago. However, it must be done within the statute of limitation set forth by the law. You have three years from the date you suffered the injury, or two years from the date of the final payment you received compensating you for the injury, whichever is later, to file the claim. You must also notify your employer of the injury or illness within 45 days.

Be sure to follow these steps when filing a workers’ compensation claim in Chicago:

  • File the Application for Adjustment of Claim within the three-year window from the statute of limitations.
  • Do not skip any of the questions on the application.
  • Complete the Proof of Service section on the application. Be sure to include the name of your employer, their address, and your signature. You must have your signature notarized.
  • Deliver or mail a signed copy of the application to your employer.
  • Deliver or mail three signed copies of the application to: Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, 100 W. Randolph St. #8-200, Chicago, IL 60601.
  • Keep a signed copy for your records.

If you were injured working at an Amazon warehouse, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney about your rights. Call the office of Gainsberg Law, P.C., at 312-600-9585, or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation. You only have three years from the date of your injury to file a claim against the responsible party. Start the process with the help of a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney today.