Amazon is one of the world’s largest and most influential software and goods distribution companies. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide are employed in Amazon’s warehouses, dubbed “fulfilment centres”, which store, handle and distribute goods. Millions of people use Amazon’s services to have goods delivered to their homes. However, if Amazon does not follow health and safety regulations and fulfil its duty of care to its employees, then these services could come at a cost.
Legal Helpline can assist and support those who have suffered an injury as a result of a workplace accident at an Amazon distribution centre or warehouse. If the accident occurred as a result of a breach in the duty of care owed to you by your employer, you could be entitled to compensation.
This guide has been compiled to explain, in some detail, how workplace accident claims work and how a personal injury solicitor provided to you by Legal Helpline could help you win the compensation you deserve. If at any point while reading this guide you have a question or would like to proceed with a claim, please contact our team of friendly advisors on the number at the top of this page.
Jump To A Section
- A Guide To Workplace Accident Claims Against Amazon
- What Is A Warehouse Employee Accident?
- Statistics For Reported Instances Of Accidents In Amazon Warehouses
- Warehousing And Storage Accident Types
- Working Temperature Guidelines And Related Injury Claims
- Warehouse Slip, Trip Or Fall Accidents
- Crush Injuries In A Warehouse
- Forklift Truck And Warehouse Vehicle Accidents
- Additional Warehouse Workplace Accidents
- Employee Accident Compensation Claims Calculator
- Special Damages, Expenses And Lost Income
- Why Choose Legal Helpline For A Warehouse Employee Accident Claim?
- No Win, No Fee Workplace Accident Claims Against Amazon
- Talk To Legal Helpline
- Supporting Resources
Amazon has, of late, come under scrutiny for the working conditions in their warehouses and how their workforce is treated. Trade unions in the UK claim that hundreds of people have suffered injuries or near misses while working in Amazon’s warehouses. The purpose of this guide is not to paint Amazon in a bad light. We merely seek to educate workers on their rights when it comes to seeking compensation if they were harmed at work as a result of a breach in the duty of care owed to them by their employer.
If you are employed by Amazon, then Amazon owes you a duty of care. This means they are responsible for ensuring that accidents do not occur in their warehouses, or at least that the risk of an accident is kept to a minimum. If they have failed to uphold this duty of care and an accident takes place, then you could be entitled to make a claim if you have suffered harm as a result.
This guide will explain some of the possible circumstances in which an accident could occur. We will advise you on potential compensation amounts for different injuries and how you could pursue a claim in a way which reduces the risk to your finances to the lowest level possible.
Please be aware that if the accident occurred more than three years ago, or if it has been more than three years since you were diagnosed with the illnesses or injuries stemming from the accident, then it is highly unlikely that you will be entitled to make a workplace accident claim. This is because there is a statutory time limit that applies to personal injury claims, which is three years from the date of the accident. Beyond this period, the law deems the claim as time-barred. It may be possible to still claim under exceptional circumstances, but we advise you to contact us to discuss this first.
For broader information about making personal injury claims against your employer for having an accident at work, read our guide here.
Between 2015 and 2018, there were around 440 health and safety incidents in Amazon warehouses. Amazon is not alone in seeing employees getting injured while working at its warehouse facilities. In the year 2009/10, 8,500 injuries were reported among workers in the warehouse and storage industries. Of these 1,600 were classed as being serious injuries involving, for example, fractured limbs.
These numbers highlight the potential risks of working in warehouses, ranging from slips, trips and falls causing minor injuries like cuts and bruises, to accidents involving forklifts and machinery which could inflict serious crushing injuries.
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 requires employers to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries in the workplace by abiding by implementing measures to monitor risk in the workplace. Such measures include performing risk assessments to identify risks and prevent accidents before they arise, and conducting regular inspections and maintenance of equipment.
Amazon has not been without its controversy. The GMB trade union has claimed, following a Freedom of Information request, that Amazon has a higher than average rate of workplace health and safety incidents. An examination of the figures released for the amount of workplace health and safety incidents at Amazon warehouses shows that they have been occurring with greater frequency over the past several years.
- 2015-16: 80 injuries
- 2016-17: 114 injuries
- 2017-18: 149 injuries
- As of October 2018, the number of injuries for 2018-19 was 99.
It is worth bearing in mind that over this period, the number of Amazon warehouses operating in the UK has more than doubled, so the increased number of accidents could simply represent the increased size of the workforce, rather than an increased rate of injuries.
There are several different types of accidents that could occur while working in a warehouse if the health and safety standards of that warehouse are not up to scratch. In brief, they include:
- Slips, trips and falls
- Manual handling injuries
- Falling from a height, such as falling off a ladder.
- Accidents involving a vehicle such as a forklift, or an accident involving some other kind of machinery operated in the warehouse.
The following sections will go over the details of how some of these accidents might occur, what obligations Amazon has to try to prevent them and how you could make a claim for compensation if you happen to be injured in one.
According to workplace health and safety legislation, employers have an obligation to keep the workplace at a reasonable temperature. This is outlined in the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Employers are advised to keep a minimum temperature of 16°C in the workplace and a minimum of 13°C if the staff are performing manual work. In some workplaces, it will not be feasible to have a minimum temperature like this as the nature of the work will require low temperatures, such as the refrigeration of food and other perishables.
The maximum temperature is also similarly difficult to define, as in some workplaces it is unreasonable to attempt to keep the temperature low, such as in workplaces with furnaces such as steel plants, for example. Employers are instead required to perform risk assessments and make reasonable judgments as to what is a safe and reasonable temperature to have their staff working in.
Both hot and cold temperatures can pose a threat to your health. Prolonged exposure to the cold can lead to chilblains, hypothermia or frostbite. Cold temperatures could also cause ice to spread in the workplace, presenting a slipping hazard. Heat can cause heat exhaustion and working outdoors in the sun can also lead to sunstroke or sunburns.
Your employer has a duty of care to protect your health and ensure your safety and cannot make you work in conditions which are hot or cold enough to risk harming your health. If you have suffered an illness or have been injured as a result of working in an Amazon warehouse that was too hot or too cold, call us to find out if you could be entitled to make a workplace injury claim.
All workplaces and public spaces need to be kept clear of hazards which could cause people to have slips, trips and falls. A slip or trip and fall could cause serious injuries, such as bone fractures and head injuries. Having a floor which presents a danger of slips, trips and falls is considered a health and safety issue. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that practices are carried out to prevent or rectify tripping hazards.
In warehouses, this could possibly involve discarded packaging and wrapping. There is also the risk of slipping and falling on puddles and spillages, the risk of tripping on a floor with damaged tiles or carpets and the risk of tripping and falling on broken pavement or in the car park outside the warehouse. You can find out more about slips, trips and falls in our guide to them here.
One of the risks of working in a warehouse is an accident involving crushing injuries. If correct safety measures are not followed, then such accidents could occur involving the warehouse’s forklifts, crates, cages, heavy-duty machinery and storage racks. Your employer should ensure that measures are in place to reduce as much as possible the risk of an accident like this occurring: Such measures include:
- Ensuring that all staff operating forklifts and other vehicles around the warehouse have the appropriate training and licenses.
- Regular servicing, checks and maintenance of all vehicles and machinery used in the warehouse.
- Ensuring all staff are trained in the safe use of warehouse machinery
- Ensuring staff are trained in the safe methods of lifting and carrying goods.
Forklift trucks and other vehicles used inside warehouses require special training in order to be operated safely. Without such training, the risk of causing serious injuries could increase significantly.
Like all employers, Amazon is obliged to ensure that all forklifts and other vehicles are maintained correctly and serviced regularly. Faulty vehicles ought to be taken out of service until they are repaired.
Employers must also ensure that all staff assigned to operate the vehicles have the appropriate training. Other staff who work in the area where these vehicles are being operated must be trained in their safety around forklifts, too. The workplace as a whole must be made safe for the operation of forklifts and staff working around them, so floors and surfaces should be marked clearly and also kept free of any obstacles or hazards which could cause a vehicle to crash or lose control. Ideally, Amazon should ensure that there are paths marked out on the floor of the warehouse for staff and forklifts to stick to avoid accidents and collisions.
The workplace accidents listed in the sections you have just read are examples of some of the different types of accidents that might occur. They do not reflect the full extent of all the dangers that a worker in an unsafe warehouse might encounter. Other potential hazards could include long-term health problems, such as repetitive strain injuries or noise-induced hearing loss, manual handling injuries from moving heavy boxes, mental health issues arising from overworking and stress or the possibility of being physically assaulted in the workplace. If any of these issues have affected you, and you believe it happened because your employer failed to observe health and safety practices, then please get in touch with our team.
When accident compensation is calculated, a number of different factors are taken into account in order to provide a payout that is appropriate for the needs and the circumstances of the victim. One of these factors is, of course, the nature of the injury itself.
A severe injury with significant and lasting effects will entitle an accident victim to a greater amount of compensation compared to a minor injury with little to no lasting effects. The table you can see below is a personal injury claims calculator. The figures contained within have been taken from the Judicial College Guidelines, a legal publication used by solicitors and the courts to value claims.
The figures below might not reflect the amount of compensation that you would get for your injury. All claims are unique and are valued based on their own circumstances. However, you can get in touch with one of our expert advisors who can give you a more specific idea of how much you could be entitled to. Simply call the number at the top of this page to find out more.
|Toe injuries (a)||Amputation of all toes.||£36,520 to £56,080|
|Toe injuries (b)||Amputation of great toe||In the region of £31,310|
|Jaw fractures (I)||Serious and multiple fractures requiring prolonged treatment and resulting in permanent effects, such as pain and difficulty eating and the risk of the onset of arthritis.||£30,490 to £45,540|
|Jaw fractures (ii)||Serious fracture with permanent consequences, such as pain and difficulty opening the jaw.||£17,960 to £30,490|
|Jaw fractures (iii)||Simple fracture which requires a full immobilisation, but from which a full recovery is made.||£6,460 to £8,730
|Skeletal Injuries (a)||Le Fort Fractures of Frontal Facial Bones||£23,810 to £36,740|
|Skeletal Injuries (b)||Multiple fractures of multiple facial bones, resulting in some degree of permanent deformity.||£14,900 to £23,950|
|Dermatitis (a)||Pain and cracked skin on both hands, causing an impact on employment and mental health lasting for a prolonged period of time.||£13,740 to £19,200|
|Dermatitis (b)||Dermatitis of one or both hands, settling after a period of treatment.||£8,640 to £11,410|
|Dermatitis (c)||Short lived rashes on one or both hands.||£1,710 to £3,950|
Other factors that are included in calculating an accident victim’s compensation is the state of their finances and how it has been affected by expenses and income losses caused by the injury. If a claimant can provide an accurate figure with supporting evidence, such as receipts, bills, invoices and bank statements, then compensation could be claimed for the likes of:
- Any expenses relating to necessary medical treatment, such as prescriptions or over the counter medication.
- Any travel expenses relating to the injury or treatment.
- Any expenses relating to the care the victim requires.
- Lost earnings caused by an inability to work thanks to the injury.
We believe that in choosing Legal Helpline to support you with your legal woes, you will benefit immensely. We have many years of experience helping people claim compensation for injuries that they have suffered at work. Not only can we provide you with a free, no strings attached legal consultation, but we could also put you in contact with a specialist solicitor from our panel who could get to work on your case that same day. Your solicitor will work tirelessly to ensure you recover the maximum amount of compensation possible and will guide you through the complexities of the claims process with ease, debunking legal jargon along the way. They’ll keep you informed of all progress and if at any time you have a query, they’ll be on hand to take your call. Better still, the solicitors on our panel can offer to represent you on a No Win, No Fee basis, something we’ll explain below.
Our panel of solicitors can give you the option of entering into a No Win, No Fee Agreement, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). The CFA is designed to offer claimants financial protection and the confidence to pursue justice. If you sign a CFA with a solicitor from our panel, you will not have to pay any fees upfront, nor will you have to pay any fees during your claim either. And if your claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay any of the fees your solicitor has incurred in pursuing your case.
If your claim is successful, your solicitor may seek a small contribution towards their costs. This is known as a ‘success fee’ and would be deducted from the compensation awarded at the end of the claim. Don’t worry, the success fee is legally capped and will be set out in clear terms within the CFA.
For more information about how this process works, please use the contact details listed below to reach our team.
Our team of friendly advisors is available 24/7, 7 days a week. They’ll answer any queries you may have, and if you’d like to proceed with a claim, they’ll undertake a free consultation of your case. If they see your claim has reasonable prospects of success, they’ll put you in touch with a specialist solicitor from our panel. To make a start, you can either call us on 0161 696 9685 or to fill in this online enquiry form to request a callback.
Written by JY
Edited by REG