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Overexertion a common problem for workers, especially at Amazon.com

Friday, January 15, 2016

Amazon may be leading the pack in terms of online retail, but the company’s success has come at a cost. As reports of Amazon’s questionable treatment of workers continue, some are wondering whether the company is on the right track. The latest move against the company came last month when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company for failing to report 26 work-related illnesses and injuries at a warehouse in New Jersey.

The citation, which could end up costing the company $7,000 in fines, listed other safety concerns as well, including exposing employees to repeated bending at the waist and extended periods of standing during 10 hour shifts, sometimes with additional mandatory overtime. All of this can lead to overexertion and ultimately workplace injury. 

According to the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety’s 2016 Workplace Safety Index, overexertion is listed as the biggest cause of nonfatal workplace injuries. In 2013, employers reportedly spent over $15 billion to address such injuries. Companies obviously have a financial incentive to reduce these types of injuries, but for a company like Amazon, perhaps these costs are outweighed by the productivity the company achieves by overexerting its employees.

Those who are injured on the job, of course, have the right to seek out workers’ compensation benefits. In our next post, we’ll take a look at the steps that should be taken when a workplace injury occurs, and what an injured employee can expect from his or her employer, including the issue of accident reporting.

Sources:

CFO, “Amazon Cited Over Workplace Injury Reporting,” Matthew Heller, Jan. 13, 2016.

Business Insurance, “Overexertion tops list of workplace injury causes,” Gloria Gonzales, Jan. 14, 2016. 

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