Warehouse Worker Safety: Advocates Push for $5M in New York State Budget

A warehouse worker puts a box up on a shelf.

Across New York, a movement spearheaded by various labor unions and worker advocacy groups is underway. Driven by alarming warehouse injury statistics, it aims to secure a $5 million allocation in the state’s upcoming fiscal year 2024-2025 budget. It seeks to enhance warehouse worker safety and address rampant negligence in this sector.

The New York workers’ compensation lawyers at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP applaud any efforts to improve working conditions for warehouse employees. If you were hurt on the job, we can help you explore your potential options for seeking compensation.

Warehouse worker safety advocates urge state lawmakers to act

Data indicates that warehouse employees in New York experience injury rates much higher than the state average. This has prompted urgent calls for legislative reform. Key players in this campaign include prominent labor organizations such as the Retail Wholesale & Department Store Union, New York Teamsters, and the Alliance for a Greater New York.

The organizations involved in this movement advocate for the implementation of stringent safety measures in warehouses across the state. This includes safer warehouse design, annual hazard assessments, and crucial repairs to mitigate injury risks.

Senate Labor Committee chair Jessica Ramos has sponsored the proposed legislation. She stresses the far-reaching consequences of workplace injuries.

“When a worker gets injured, it does not just destabilize their life, it ripples out to the lives of their communities and the people who depend on them,” said Ramos. “Mega-corporations like Amazon have been allowed to accumulate profit literally off the back of workers.”

Safety advocates highlighted the importance of this bill during a recent rally at the state Capitol. The above-mentioned groups organized the rally following the release of Governor Hochul’s executive budget proposal. This action highlights the growing concern over warehouse worker safety, particularly in Amazon facilities.

Data shows a staggering increase in workplace injury rates at Amazon facilities

Recent data from the National Employment Law Project reveals staggeringly high injury rates at Amazon warehouses. The data specifically focuses on New York State Amazon warehouses with over 500 employees. It paints a concerning picture of workplace safety in these environments.

This situation is not isolated to a single facility but is a state-wide issue. Several large Amazon warehouses have exhibited high injury rates and cases involving missed work or job transfers. For example, the facility in Schodack, with 922 employees, had the highest injury rate at 18.8 per 100 workers. This accounts for 165 worker injuries each year.

The Liverpool facility had the second-highest injury rate, with 11.1 injuries per 100 workers. That’s followed by the Staten Island facility with 7.2 injuries per 100 workers.

Holding facilities accountable for failure to promote warehouse worker safety

Advocates for the proposed bill argue that it’s crucial for holding employers accountable and preventing negligence. In turn, this could enhance warehouse worker safety. Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, stresses the importance of prioritizing worker health and safety over corporate profits.

“Organizing workers in warehousing, we have seen first-hand what happens when employers prioritize the bottom line rather than workers’ lives. Warehouse workers are five times as likely to be injured on the job than workers in other private sector industries, and at Amazon warehouses it is even worse,” said Appelbaum.

Ramos added, “We want to give the Department of Labor the tools they need to make sure Amazon is a responsible employer, and the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act is just the latest iteration of that effort.”

Injured in a warehouse facility? Our New York attorneys can fight for fair compensation

If you sustained an injury on the job in a warehouse, you could be out of work for an extensive period. Meanwhile, you may wonder where your next paycheck is going to come from or how you’ll pay for the cost of medical care. However, you may have plenty of options for getting the compensation you deserve, both in the short and long term.

Let our law firm walk you through the workers’ compensation claims process and advocate for your best interests. If you have any questions, we’ll provide honest answers during a free consultation. To get started, contact us online or call our law offices across NYC and New York State.

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