Over the past several years, research has shown an increase in injury and death rates among workers in some industries. One occupation that continues to be a focus for researchers and safety advocates is warehouse work. Safety among warehouse workers is a huge concern among safety officials, especially as reports continue to suggest that companies like Amazon do not have proper safety protocols in place.
This all begs the question of whether warehouse worker injuries and deaths are on the rise? Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests they are. Consider the following:
- In 2018, there were 1,198,000 warehouse workers in the United States.
- The injury rate among warehouse workers in 2018 was 5.1 per 100 workers.
- The injury rate equates to more than 60,000 injuries in 2018.
- In 2015, there were 11 fatalities in the warehousing industry. In 2018, there were 26.
- The most common causes of injuries are slip and fall accidents and forklift accidents.
- As many as 35,000 warehouse workers are injured each year in forklift accidents. Another 100 are killed.
Amazon Leading Warehouse Safety Concerns
Amazon is one of the largest online retailers, operating 110 fulfillment facilities nationwide. The national average injury rate among warehouse workers is 4 per 100 workers. Injury rates at Amazon facilities is more than double that, with a rate of 9.6 in 2018. What’s more, injury rates have increased at Amazon warehouses in several states, including:
- California – Injury rates increased from 2.9 to 11.3 from 2015 to 2018.
- Oregon – In 2018, the injury rate was 26 per 100 workers, which is six times higher than the industry average.
- Washington – In 2018, the injury rate was around 13 per 100 workers. There were 292 serious injuries reported in 2018.
While Amazon is certainly not the only company to report worker injuries, their large and growing presence in the industry makes their injury rates even more concerning. Across the warehousing industry, there needs to be more focus on safety culture and policies.