If you’ve ever worked for Amazon, then you know that a warehouse job can be dangerous. There are heavy objects to lift and you may end up getting hurt.
Did you know that the Amazon warehouse in Sacramento has one of the highest injury rates in the U.S.? In 2018, there were over 385 injuries reported at the facility, making it possible to have an injury more than once daily. Over half of those injuries resulted in workers having to take time off work. In 153 of the cases, the workers had to move to a new job or work under restrictions to prevent further injuries.
Looking into the investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting, one possible answer is the high speed at which workers are expected to complete their jobs. This is particularly difficult for workers during the holiday season, when injury rates at warehouses around the country are much higher than the industry standard.
Did you know that Amazon reported that it had shipped over a billion products to members using Prime in the 2018 holiday season? With quick delivery times, the clock is “always ticking,” one reporter said about Amazon’s warehouse processes.
Sacramento’s facility is smaller than others, but it is used to sort out thousands of items before they go out for delivery. The expectation is that employees will scan 300 items per hour, which equates to a product every 12 seconds. That’s nearly double the previously expected 180 items an hour.
Amazonians United Sacramento said that the effects of going this fast were immediately impacting workers’ backs. The industry average for injuries is 4 per 100 workers, but Sacramento was seeing 16.4 per 100 workers during the 2018 holiday season.
Fast working conditions like these can hurt anyone. Repeated movements can lead to repetitive-strain injuries, and heavy lifting can lead to strain and back injuries. Workers have to slow down to prevent these injuries, but with the speeds that are necessary during the holidays, people tend just to get hurt trying to keep up.
Workers who do suffer injuries while on the job deserve to get the help that they need to recover. That may include filing for workers’ compensation and seeking medical care after an injury. They should be able to take time off and return to work once they are healed, based on their doctor’s orders.