Mother Jones recently featured an interesting article about a worker who injured herself while working at Amazon here in California, a situation that undoubtedly applies to a number of people who lift, move, and haul items every day at these facilities as part of their job and suffer neck, shoulder, and wrist injuries as a result. As a result, this particular worker can no longer type without the assistance of dictation software, suffers from surges of pain in her hips and spine, and has to visit multiple medical specialists every week to deal with these injuries, all while relying on state-provided Medicaid assistance—reportedly without any assistance from Amazon.
Unsafe Working Conditions In & Outside of Southern California
There are an estimated 125,000 workers in Amazon facilities than span approximately 20 football fields, with Southern California being Amazon’s densest region. Unfortunately, many workers have discovered that the company prioritizes speedy distribution of merchandise over the health and well-being of its employees. As a result, a number of them face extremely unsafe working conditions every day just by doing their jobs, which involve pulling packed items from warehouse shelves and filling pallets for the conveyor belt. Workers’ reported production goals are more than 100 items per hour, and each item can weigh up to 30 pounds or so. Many also work 10- and 12-hour shifts, day and night.
OSHA Investigations in California
According to the article cited, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched more than 100 federal investigations against the company just in the last three years. This also includes sending a number of warning letters to the company about issues, such as the use of EMTs in their warehouse clinics, known as “AmCare” clinics. While these clinics are supposed to provide workers with first aid in the instance of accidents, according to OSHA, hazards present at these facilities are resulting in injuries that cause severe worker disabilities, including amputations and fractures; injuries far beyond what inexperienced workers operating at a minimal first aid clinic can address.
In the instance of the worker interviewed for Mother Jones, the work she did day-to-day result in an inability to use her right hand and sharp pains running up through her shoulder. The AmCare clinic only gave her an ice pack, and she went back to work, proceeding to fall off the ladder because she had to try and maneuver it with one hand. They did not officially report her injury.
Contact a California Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have been injured on the job here in California, you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, and potentially other benefit types, depending upon the injury and circumstances. However, dealing with your employer’s insurance company – and their attempts to minimize or dismiss your claim – can be beyond overwhelming and frustrating. Our California workers’ compensation attorneys will not only handle the paperwork and any necessary appeals but any hassle you receive as a result of your injury. Contact us today to find out more.