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Washington workers’ compensation change could affect Pennsylvania

States regulate their workers’ compensation rates based on investigation and injury data, and when one state considers a change it may ripple out to others.

In the case of a change due to a global company like Amazon, there are plenty of organizations that may want to consider paying close attention. Insurance Journal reports on an increase of injuries in Amazon warehouses that could alter the standard warehouse workers’ compensation rate.

Compensation categories

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries pays medical bills and lost wages for any workplace-injured workers. The charge a calculated hourly rate based on injury risk depending on the workplace category. The Center for Investigative Reporting obtained data showing that Amazon fulfillment centers saw more injuries and claims than the warehouse industry average.

Fulfillment center classification

Washington’s workplace safety regulator proposes the state consider “fulfillment centers”, the name Amazon gives to its warehouses, as a different classification in order to calculate workers’ compensation rates. The reclassification, if approved, would increase Amazon’s workers’ compensation costs by 15% while other warehouse operators would see a drop of 20%.

Washington and beyond

Any state with Amazon operations, Pennsylvania included, may want to consider similar changes. Analysts believe a recent hiring binge serves as a pertinent factor of the increased injuries and hopes that Amazon seeks to reduce the claims by making the correct investments in safety. In the meantime, warehouse workers still find themselves in hazardous work environments whether Amazon or another company hires them. It takes diligent preparation and investigation to make a strong workers’ compensation case, but the effort may help with recovery and costs for anyone losing out on wages due to injury.