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Amazon partnership aims to reduce workplace injuries

Rows of shelves with boxes in an Amazon company warehouse.

Amazon has announced a partnership with the National Safety Council to find ways to prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) – a common injury among its workers that has led to countless workers' compensation claims in New Jersey and throughout the country.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines MSDs as “injuries or disorders of the muscles, nerve, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs.” It notes that work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) occur when “the work environment and performance of work contribute significantly to the condition” and/or “the condition is made worse or persists longer due to work conditions.”

Examples of MSDs include sprains, strains, pinched nerves, herniated discs, meniscus tears, hernia, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Warehouse workers and musculoskeletal disorders

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes that risk factors for MSDs include “lifting heavy items, bending, reaching overhead, pushing and pulling heavy loads, working in awkward body postures, and performing the same or similar tasks repetitively.”

All of these activities are part of the job for Amazon warehouse workers and not surprisingly, many of these workers have suffered MSDs at the workplace. A new study has found that Amazon warehouse workers are injured at higher rates than workers at other companies.

Amazon has 14 facilities in New Jersey, including a warehouse in Robbinsville.

The Strategic Organizing Center found that in 2020, there were 5.9 serious injuries for every 100 Amazon warehouse workers. That’s nearly 80% higher than the rate of serious injury at warehouses of rival companies.

OSHA notes that job-related MSDs “are among the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time.” Amazon says its 5-year partnership with the NSC will directly address the problem.

“Nothing is more important than the safety of our employees, and this partnership will allow us to dive deep into the best way to reduce MSDs,” said Heather MacDougall, the company’s vice president of worldwide workplace health and safety.

The components of the partnership involve setting up an advisory council, conducting research, providing small business and university grants, setting up innovation competitions, and sharing solutions with other companies.

Injured workers can seek workers’ compensation benefits

An injury puts workers in a tough situation. They need medical treatment, which can be expensive. They may not be able to work for some time, resulting in a loss of income.

The state’s workers’ compensation system is supposed to help injured workers by covering the cost of medical treatment and paying them partial wages while they are out. But in reality, the process can be complicated and overwhelming.

Insurance companies try to pay injured workers as little as possible. They may question the seriousness of an MSD or try to argue that it was not work-related. Injured workers may be pressured into going back to work even if though they are still experiencing pain and have not fully recovered.

If you’ve been hurt while on the job in New Jersey, you need an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who will fight for all the benefits you're entitled to receive. Our law firm knows how to build strong cases based on evidence and guide workers through every step of the claims process.

Learn more about how we can help you. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today. Our offices are in Shrewsbury and Freehold, New Jersey.

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