High injury rates at Amazon warehouses offer a workers’ comp lesson for employees everywhere

On-the-job injuries can become a headache for workers for a number of reasons beyond the obvious ones: Coworkers might not be happy that they have to pick up the slack to hit production targets. Bosses might feel the same way. Too many injuries could even reflect poorly on the company as a whole. Yet while it may seem tempting to avoid inconveniencing coworkers by pushing through the pain and showing up to the office, the consequences of not reporting an injury will likely be even bigger down the line.

That’s one of the takeaways from an investigation into unusually high injury rates at Amazon fulfillment centers in 16 states. News website Reveal found that the overall rate of serious injury at 28 Amazon warehouses it examined was more than double the average for the industry.

A pair of Seattle-area warehouses had some of the highest injury rates. With 165 injuries reported in 2018, a fulfillment center in Dupont had a serious injury rate of nearly five times the national average. A Kent warehouse, which is one of Amazon’s largest, reported 328 injuries that same year, which represents more than three times the national average.

A full list of the rankings is available here.

An Amazon spokesperson previously told Reveal that the unusually high injury rates were due to the Seattle company’s diligent reporting. If true, that would imply that warehouse workers at other companies around the country, perhaps including in Washington, aren’t filing workers’ compensation claims when injuries happen. If so, those employees wouldn’t be taking advantage of a critically important safety net that provides them with the time and resources necessary to recover from the incident and avert long-term complications.

The heightened injury rates at Amazon’s warehouses could also be due to the incredibly fast pace of work in the fulfillment centers. Amazon boasted that its highly-automated Kent warehouse was the first to fulfill one million products in a single day.

Regardless of the reasons behind the high injury rates, workers should always report on-the-job accidents.

Emery Reddy helps workers. Call us at if you have workers’ comp, injury, or other employment law claim. You won’t get better advice.

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