As we’ve discussed on the blog in the past, the Amazon facilities in Minnesota have a disproportionately high rate of injuries. As a result of these high injury rates, lawmakers in Minnesota are working to pass some regulations that will hopefully help to keep more workers safe.
Last month, Minnesota lawmakers introduced legislation that would put facilities under additional scrutiny to ensure their employees have access to a safe working environment. The new proposals would ensure that employees have fair access to break time and an advance notice of performance quotas that could result in discipline. According to some former employees who spoke at a committee hearing supporting the bill, oftentimes workers would cut corners or perform risky actions to help avoid falling behind on their quota.
“You’ll overreach, you’ll cut corners, you’ll do things to improve your rate,” said Tyler Hamilton, who has worked at the Shakopee facility for over four years. “When you’re rushed, when you’re under stress, that weighs on people.”
The Shakopee facility is especially dangerous, as it had a higher workplace injury rate than any other industry in Minnesota in 2020. Another report found that between 2018 and 2020, Amazon reported 11.1 injuries per 100 full-time equivalent warehouse workers, which is more than twice the average of non-Amazon workers.
New Safety Proposals
The proposed legislation would require Amazon and other warehouse employers to specifically spell out for workers what their productivity quotas are and the exact consequences for failing to meet them. Employers would also be required to give at least two days’ advance notice of changes to the quota, and give workers the right to request information gathered by the employer to track their performance.
Moreover, the bill would prohibit warehouses for disciplining workers for failing to meet a quota that doesn’t account for legally allowed breaks. It would also require the Department of Labor and Industry to open an investigation if a warehouse’s injury rate exceeds the industry average by more than 30 percent.
“When we as lawmakers hear from workers and read reports like this – about injury rates at a single company that are double the rate of others in the industry in Minnesota – we should take notice, we should ask questions and we shoulder listen to what those workers are telling us,” said Rep. Emma Greenman, (D-Minneapolis).
If you or someone you know has been injured at an Amazon facility or another warehouse, be sure to reach out to a lawyer to learn about your compensation options. Dean and the team at Margolis Law Office are here to help. For more information, or to see if you have a valid injury claim, give our team a call today at (952) 230-2700.
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