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Amazon heavily fined for workplace safety violations

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Worker Safety |

Amazon is a behemoth in the online retail space, and the company employs thousands of workers in California. While these jobs can provide a significant amount of support to workers and their families, the sad reality is that Amazon has a history of failing to protect employees from unsafe working conditions. And now the state has fined Amazon almost $6 million for failing to keep its warehouse workers safe.

The $5.9 million fine comes after Amazon was found to have violated worker protection laws. According to reports, Amazon failed to give workers written documentation of their production quotas, which led workers to operate too quickly in a competitive environment, thus increasing the risk of workplace injury.

By failing to provide quotas in writing, Amazon violated state worker protection laws. That state’s Labor Commissioner indicated the fines were levied only after Amazon refused to follow the law after being advised to do so.

Why does this matter?

Such aggressive action taken against Amazon shows the state’s commitment to workplace safety. It also demonstrates just how dangerous workplace conditions can be for everyday people. The sad reality is that many workers don’t even know that they’ve been subjected to a dangerous work environment, as safety violations are often brushed under the rug and don’t become problematic until someone ends up hurt.

For example, even though Amazon has been fined and cited for several safety violations over the years, their workers still account for 53% of warehouse workplace injuries despite the fact that they only make up 35% of the warehouse workforce. And injury rates for these workers increase during peak shopping seasons, putting them at substantial risk of being seriously harmed.

What should you do if you’ve been injured in a workplace accident?

If you’ve been injured on the job, whether you work at Amazon or somewhere else, then you need to report it to your employer immediately. You should seek out medical care, too. Don’t downplay your symptoms or the severity of the harm that’s come to you. Be diligent in securing a diagnosis and treatment to address all your symptoms.

You might want to consider filing a worker’s compensation claim. If you’re successful here, then you can recover compensation to offset your lost wages and your medical expenses, which can serve as a lifeline in your time of need.

If you’re going to pursue workers’ compensation, just make sure you act fast. In many instances, you only have 30 days to report your injuries to your employer and missing that deadline could bar you from recovering the benefits you need.

A fine against Amazon for unsafe work practices is a win for workers, but it doesn’t help employees who have already been hurt by dangerous conditions. Instead, the burden falls on injured workers like you to present a competent and aggressive workers’ compensation claim that speaks to the applicable elements of the law.

Therefore, you need strong evidence that shows how your injuries were suffered, their extent, and how they prevent you from working. This may require multiple medical examinations, coworker testimony and expert opinions.