Many retailers have large warehouses to store their items. Others have few – if any – retail outlets and rely on warehouses to serve as the hub of their business. In California, there are many such locations, the most prominent being Amazon.
Workers have long complained about safety on the job in warehouses. Amazon particularly has a high rate of worker injury. This is deemed to be largely due to its demanding work culture where efficiency is viewed as being the primary focus, often at the expense of workers being safe and granted their fundamental rights.
A law is moving forward in the state that will dramatically change how warehouse workers are treated. Still, accidents are likely to happen or already have happened and those who were hurt should know the basics of a workers’ compensation claim.
Legislation will grant new rights to warehouse workers
The California State Senate has passed a bill giving warehouse workers more rights. It now awaits the governor’s signature. With this bill, warehouse workers would be granted more options to disagree with their employer regarding such issues as speed quotas. The speed quota, by itself, is not as much of a problem as how it impacts worker behavior.
To reach their required workload, warehouse workers often shun restroom breaks. Also, safety protocols are frequently ignored lending itself to a dangerous environment.
Amazon is viewed as the leader in warehousing for a reason, but it is not the only company that uses the template. The new law will apply to other warehouses. Workers at Amazon are often penalized if they do not meet their quota. The law would provide an appeal process to fight these restrictions and demands.
Anecdotal evidence about Amazon’s warehouse work culture and the challenges workers face because of them is common. With its penchant for using data to boost efficiency, Amazon tracks its workers incessantly, leading to fear among the workforce that they must meet their quotas or find their employment on shaky ground.
It is known that workers who do the same movements over and over are vulnerable to exertion-related injuries. A former official at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that warehouses and factories are hotbeds for worker injuries with musculoskeletal damage comprising a major portion of them. This is believed to be linked to the quota system. Unsurprisingly, businesses are against the basics of this proposed law.
Even with new laws, workers can suffer injuries in manual labor-related jobs
This is a positive step for warehouse workers in having a larger voice and a chance at better treatment as they go about their duties. Even with that – and if the law passes and is followed – the fact remains that warehouse work is dangerous.
Workers can suffer injuries from bending, walking, standing and lifting. They can be hit by vehicles and objects. Tools are often used and a mishap with one can spark significant damage.
Medical treatment, lost income and an uncertain future may accompany any workplace accident. Given the remaining uncertainties for warehouse workers, it is vital to understand the process of getting workers’ compensation benefits. Having qualified and professional advice can help with moving forward with the process and having a good chance at getting approved for the maximum a worker is entitled to.