There is likely not a single person in the socialized world who has not heard of Amazon. The production giant is famous for having virtually everything you need and want to buy, while also developing a massive streaming service, virtual library, and other original amenities and conveniences. Next day shipping with Prime has prevented many people from being in a lot of trouble on various holidays. From the point of view of the customer, Amazon can be a life-saver.
However, those responsible for making, packing, and distributing those fast-tracked orders have a different view of the conglomerate. Amazon warehouse employees specifically describe their jobs as harrowing, brutal, and often dangerous endeavors where they are treated with no respect or consideration. Morale is so low amongst their workers that many prefer unemployment to another shift, and recent studies are starting to show exactly why that is.
Per CNBC, Amazon workers suffered serious injuries at twice the rate of their rival companies in 2021, far exceeding the total rate of all other warehouse employees in the country. Data provided by the Strategic Organizing Center shows that “there were 6.8 serious injuries for every 100 Amazon warehouse workers. That’s more than twice the rate of all other employers in the warehouse industry, which had 3.3 serious injuries per 100 workers.” In total, Amazon reported approximately 38,000 total injuries. This was in 2021 alone.
How do so many people get hurt working in Amazon facilities?
Amazon has faced an increasing amount of criticism for their workplace ethics and practices over the years, but little has been done to actually address the issue. Workers are forced to operate at unrealistic speeds with little-to-no breaks, pressured to come in sick, required to be at work during inclement and dangerous weather. Some employees report simply taking a bathroom break is frowned upon by the company. Employees and a percentage of customers have been vocally advocating for change, but aside from launching a series of “wellness programs,” nothing else has been done.
Amazon says its goal is to become the safest place to work on Earth but they have more than a long way to go – and a funny way of showing their efforts. Their workplace injuries have actually increased since they made their “pledge” of safety, and the vast majority of these injuries were categorized as severe enough to force someone out of work for a period of time. According to CNBC, “The vast majority of injuries in 2021 were categorized as serious, or injuries ‘where workers were hurt so badly that they were either unable to perform their regular job functions (light duty) or forced to miss work entirely (lost time),’ according to the report.”
Can Tulsa warehouse employees collect workers’ compensation?
Whether you work at Amazon or another job, you are entitled to protections as an employee in Oklahoma in the event of an occupational injury or illness. Workers’ compensation insurance exists for that very reason. As an employee, you may be eligible for a variety of benefits depending on the nature of your injuries. Victims receive temporary disability until they are as recovered as a doctor deems they can be. To get permanent partial disability, you may still receive benefits after returning to work if you are not able to do the same work as before. Working with a skilled, experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help ensure you are entirely clear on your eligibility.
The more dangerous your occupation, the more important it is for you to know your rights based on your status of employment and how to get the compensation you are entitled to, if applicable. For example, warehousing (and transportation) accounted for 14 out of every 100,000 worker deaths in 2019. During the pandemic, however, mortality rates for line workers in warehouses – the most common category of workers in Amazon’s warehouses – were pushed above 50%. In Oklahoma, families of employees are eligible for death benefits if their loved one dies in the course of their job duties.
If you have been injured at work, you should always explore your options regardless of the circumstances. As a contractor, you may not be able to file for workers’ compensation, but you can still file a negligence claim. You can also file an injury claim against any third parties responsible for your injuries, like manufacturers. We can discuss these options with you.
Do I need a Tulsa workers’ compensation lawyer to help me?
No one is legally required to hire a lawyer – but working with one can make thigs much easier and can result in avenues of recovery being discovered that an injury victim, working on their own, never would have known to look for in the first place. Because workers’ compensation puts so much power in the hands of the employer, the process is incredibly rigorous and thorough even though no actual fault needs to be proven. Your employer may even request you have a case manager to ensure you aren’t trying to get away with more than you deserve. They will also, without a doubt, try to avoid paying you as much as possible regardless of the situation. No matter how close you think you are with your boss, they will always put profit first — and you need to do the same.
No matter your status of employment, you can trust the Tulsa personal injury attorneys at Biby Law Firm to discuss your options frankly, honestly, and compassionately, and help you determine if your case is pursuable as a workers compensation case, a personal injury case, or both. Our lawyers can also discuss the pros and cons of pursuing each type of claim and how they potentially interplay and affect one another. If you’re not in the Tulsa area, we also represent clients throughout the state including Broken Arrow, Bixby, Claremore, Jenks, Owasso, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Wagoner, Muskogee, and the surrounding areas. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 918-574-8458 or use our contact form.
Jacob Biby has spent his legal career helping folks just like you get the resources they need after an injury. He completed his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State University and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa in 2008. Jacob is licensed to practice in all Oklahoma state and federal courts, and has limited his career to representing individuals and families who were injured by the negligence of other people or corporations. Learn more about Jacob Biby.