Just last month, a surprising report showed how Amazon’s fulfillment centers across the country saw rising injury rates between 2016 and 2019, sour from internal company data. And now, the proposed legislation in Washington state would mean that Amazon could pay higher workers’ compensation premiums than other warehouse-owner companies next year.
To do this, the state wants to have warehouses that operate in a different risk classification, like Amazon. While the term Amazon is not stated anywhere in the proposed classification for “fulfillment centers”, how they are defined that fits the company’s description:
There is an online marketplace for selling your goods and the goods of third party vendors;
Sell your own name brand merchandise retail online;
Provide warehousing and order fulfillment services for third-party vendors;
Use automated vehicles and robotics within the facility;
Emphasize quick timelines and monitor employee for speed; And
Provide same-day or two-day delivery options
Amazon is currently the only business covered by this new classification, Washington D. Ratko, who is the deputy assistant director of the Washington Department of Labor and Industry Insurance Services Department, told Seattle times.
The department found in 2019 that according to Amazon’s fulfillment centers, there was an increasing share of injury claims and insurance costs compared to other warehouse operators, Seattle times. And although warehousing insurance premiums increased 18 percent in 2020, non-Amazon warehouse operators are seeing their workers’ compensation claims move forward.
“Further review of the warehouse classification concluded that fulfillment centers were more dangerous and often presented claims,” Raitko said. Seattle Times.
In this new “supply center” classification, workers’ compensation premium per hour will be different from other warehouses. The proposed rates for 2021 would be 15 percent higher for Amazon and 20 percent lower for other warehouses, which, according to Amazon’s new rate mechanized logging operations, law enforcement agencies and more than 260 other industries, would be higher than those . Service Seattle times.
Amazon has not responded to a request for comment.