Workplace safety is something all of us should be concerned about. Regardless of your line of work, there is the potential for workplace accidents. That said, some work environments do present greater risk for workers. Warehouse work would be an example of work that presents greater risk of injury, and this is highlighted in recent fatal accidents involving temporary workers for the online retail giant Amazon.com.
One of the accidents took place in December of 2013 at an Amazon warehouse in Avenel, New Jersey, though Amazon itself was not cited in an OSHA investigation of the incident. Rather, four staffing agencies that hired temporary employees at the Amazon warehouse were cited. In a more recent accident in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, another fatality occurred at an Amazon warehouse.
The deaths have led to criticism of Amazon’s efforts to expand its network of warehouses in order to ensure quicker delivery of items. The company also makes use of temporary staffing agencies to ensure its warehouses are fully staffed, particularly during the busy holiday season. Temp workers, of course, have some disadvantages when it comes to safety. According to ProPublica, a nonprofit public interest newsroom, temporary workers are more likely to be injured than other employees and less likely to receive the financial support they need when they are injured.
Employees who are injured, of course, need to be aware of their rights for compensation. Employers do not always support their injured workers, even when the injury is the company’s fault. Taking advantage of workers’ compensation should never be met with retaliation by an employer, and those facing such a situation need to work with an experienced attorney.
Source: Bloomberg, “Amazon Worker Deaths Examined by U.S. Labor Department,” Adam Satariana, June 13, 2014.