OSHA Investigation Focuses On Amazon Warehouses In Florida
The e-commerce giant downplayed or failed to report warehouse worker injuries in several states, including Florida, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
“Accurate recordkeeping is a critical element of that program and while we acknowledge there might have been a small number of administrative errors over the years, we are confident in the numbers we’ve reported to the government,” Nantel said, adding the company was pleased OSHA acknowledged “all of the alleged violations are ‘other than serious’ and involve minor infractions.” Seattle-based Amazon has long faced criticism over its workplace injury rates, which the company itself has acknowledged to be higher than the industry average in some cases. Earlier this year, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said that, while the company’s data shows injury rates for its delivery and courier workers were lower than average, injury rates for its warehouse workers were higher compared with its peers.
There are currently eighty-five Amazon warehouses in Florida. More than two dozen more are either in the planning or construction stage.
Warehouse Worker Injuries
Employees at large and small warehouses in the Sunshine State are at risk for occupational diseases and trauma injuries.
Repetitive Stress Disorder is one of the most common warehouse worker occupational diseases. Most of these workers spend much of the day bending, stooping, reaching, and kneeling. Ankles, knees, elbows, shoulders, and other joints are not designed to handle such repetitive stress without a meaningful break. The overuse often leads to loss of use, at least to an extent.
Hearing loss is a close second. Many large warehouses are noisy enough to cause hearing loss. Noises louder than thirty-five decibels, which is basically a kitchen blender, could cause hearing loss. Yet noises at this level are not loud enough to trigger mandatory state and federal hearing protection requirements.
For a Tampa workers’ compensation attorney, occupational disease claims often involve reporting issues and pre-existing, or co-existing, conditions.
Most people do not seek immediate medical attention when their shoulders feel slightly stiff. By the time they see doctors, the workers’ compensation reporting deadline has long passed. These victims are usually still entitled to benefits. Generally, workers must report occupational disease when they know the full extent of their damages, and not before then.
Most people don’t just hear loud noises at work. They also hear them at home and while on the go. Workers’ compensation benefits are usually available in these situations as well. A Florida repetitive motion injuries attorney must simply prove that the work injury aggravated the pre-existing or coexisting condition, and not the other way around.
Pre-existing conditions may also affect trauma injuries, like forklift accidents. Many people have old injuries that increase the risk or severity of a job-related injury.
Generally, injured workers are entitled to lost wage replacement and medical bill payment benefits.
Most trauma injuries are temporary disabilities. These victims can usually return to work full speed after their injuries fully heal. Most occupational diseases are long-term disabilities. Workers’ compensation usually pays two-thirds of a victim’s average weekly wage (AWW) for the duration of that temporary or permanent disability.
The AWW is more than just the average of the victim’s last six or eight net pay lines. The AWW also includes non cash compensation, like provided meals and expense reimbursement. Additionally, the AWW must account for future changes while the victim is disabled, such as missed performance bonuses.
Workers’ compensation insurance companies must also pay reasonably necessary medical bills. Insurance adjusters quickly approve the cheapest treatment option. They often never approve a reasonably necessary treatment option. A Tampa workers’ compensation attorney advocates for victims in these situations, so they get the treatment they need. Reasonably necessary bills usually include ancillary expenses as well, like transportation, prescription drugs, and medical devices.
Count on a Diligent Hillsborough County Attorney
Injury victims are entitled to important financial benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced job injury lawyer in Tampa, contact Kobal Law. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.