News Release

New Push to Reduce Injuries Among Warehouse Workers


A coalition of labor organizations, small businesses and community organizations in New York is pushing for the state to pass legislation that would help prevent occupational injuries for warehouse workers. The bill, the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act, was introduced last year and passed in the state Senate. Similar legislation has been enacted in states like Minnesota and California. 

    Hayden is the campaign coordinator for the New Yorkers for a Fair Economy coalition. 

Hayden told the Institute for Public Accuracy: New York’s bill “follows a rising tide of warehouse interventions happening across the country.”

She said: “New York’s warehouse industry is the fastest-growing industry in [the] state and the most dangerous for workers. A May 2022 report from [the] New Yorkers for a Fair Economy coalition revealed that injury rates spiked 64 percent in Amazon’s New York warehouses while the company doubled its facilities in the state. And serious injury rates at Amazon facilities are 40 percent higher than at non-Amazon facilities statewide. Warehouse workers are also injured at three times the rate of other workers in New York.”

Warehouse workers are exposed to specific types of injuries, Hayden added. “Lifting and twisting with heavy boxes can cause muscle strains, sprains, and tendonitis. These injuries can be cumulative, so over time, the repeated motions make injuries worse and worse and can take individuals out of the workforce for long periods of time or force them to change jobs. Neither federal law nor New York State law currently require employers to design jobs in a manner that prevents worker injuries. 

“With the rise of e-commerce in the past few years, alongside skyrocketing injury rates, it’s past time that we begin those interventions to protect warehouse workers who handle a huge volume of packages every day on the job. Corporations like Amazon are putting profit over the well-being of workers, driving down the workplace standards for all warehouse workers. In the absence of federal or state ergonomics standards, the risk of injury abounds at these warehouses.

“The Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act would ensure warehouses protect workers first, requiring employers to implement injury reduction or ergonomics plans to identify and minimize hazards and undergo annual evaluations by certified safety experts known as ergonomists. Through better job design, safety standards, comprehensive worker training, and improved on-site medical care, the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act will prevent worksite injuries and hold warehouse companies responsible for worker health and safety.

“If you turn on cable television whenever Prime Day or holiday seasons are coming up, it always focuses on the deals that you can get on the latest TV or microwave. What’s missing in the media coverage and general consciousness is how during these times, the risks of injuries for workers are the greatest. What’s missing is how Amazon workers are organizing across the country for better work conditions, especially during peak shopping seasons.”