When Amazon introduced its first fleet of robots in 2015, the company touted its automation to help human workers, not hurt them. Within the first year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspected the first robotic facility and recommended job rotations and more rest breaks to mitigate workplace hazards. OSHA reported that instead of making their work lighter, human workers had to work standing through 10-hour shifts, four days per week. Now 11 years later, workers in Amazon’s warehouses in Ohio and elsewhere continue to be exposed to the same ergonomic hazards.
According to The Center for Investigative Reporting, 14,000 fulfillment center workers at Amazon facilities were injured on the job in 2019 — almost double the injury standard. Furthermore, the company’s robotic facilities’ injury rates are significantly higher than at the company’s traditional warehouses. It was suggested that the human workers could not keep up with the robots’ pace.
While workers in Amazon’s ordinary warehouses must pick and scan 100 items per hour, those at the robotic plants must do approximately 400 items per hour. This is to keep up with the efficiency rate of the robots. Based on the 2019 data, human workers are significantly more vulnerable in the periods leading up to and during the peak periods like Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day.
Workers at Amazon fulfillment centers in Ohio should know that the state’s workers’ compensation insurance program will have their backs if workplace hazards led to injuries. However, navigating benefits claims while focusing on recovering to get back to work could be tough. Fortunately, injured workers are free to seek an experienced workers’ compensation attorney’s support and guidance to handle ensuing legal and administrative proceedings for them.