Common Warehouse Injuries and How They Can Be Avoided
Most jobs come with a risk of injury. Even office employees can sustain repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. However, working in a warehouse that requires heavy lifting and the use of forklifts puts employees at a much greater risk. In 2017 alone, 17,390 injuries in the warehousing and storage industries resulted in workers having to take time off work. This points to a need for stringent safety procedures in warehouses.
The problem with warehouse accidents is they often result in injuries that can physically impair employees for long periods of time. When this happens, they risk losing their income and jeopardizing their careers. That’s why it’s important for every warehouse employee to understand the dangers they face every day.
Injuries That Threaten Warehouse Employees
Warehouse employees have tough jobs. Each day they must operate heavy machinery and lift large materials. Some employees must work in refrigerated warehouses or handle dangerous chemicals. All this must be done while navigating tight workspaces and keeping a lookout for co-workers. Unfortunately, avoiding injury is close to impossible.
- Slip and falls – One of the most common warehouse accidents is a slip and fall. Simply falling on a warehouse floor may not sound serious, but these accidents can result in broken bones, sprains, or head injuries. Workers also run the risk of falling from high places such as pallets. These are potentially fatal accidents.
- Machine-related injuries – Many warehouses require the use of forklifts and other heavy machinery on a daily basis. Often this equipment is operated in close proximity to other employees. A forklift accident could crush or pin workers, causing broken bones and internal injuries. Employees who operate factory machinery are also at risk of getting entangled. This could lead to severe lacerations, broken bones, even lost limbs.
- Dangerous chemicals – Some warehouses must use chemicals during the production process. This means workers are at risk of exposure if spills occur. Certain chemicals can cause burns, asphyxiation, or poisoning.
- Falling objects – In warehouses where employees must retrieve and stock objects on large pallet racks, there’s always a chance of being hit by a falling object. In severe cases, an entire pallet could collapse and crush workers below. These warehouse accidents lead to things like broken bones, concussions, and internal injuries.
While accidents are always a possibility in a warehouse setting, owners and managers have a responsibility to protect employees. When they don’t, injured employees have a right to seek workers compensation for lost wages and medical bills.
Avoiding Warehouse Accidents
The state of California requires employers to implement an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP), which provides workplace safety training for employees. These programs also promote effective communication between employers and employees. Warehouses must also have safety guidelines in place. For instance, all work areas should be kept clean and dry to avoid slips or falls. All employees must have certifications to operate heavy equipment. Workers need to wear protective gear to reduce the chance of injury while lifting. Finally, there should be strict weight guidelines for storing objects on pallet racks.
Contact an Upland Workers Compensation Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a warehouse accident, you may be facing expensive medical bills and long-term disability. When these injuries are a result of poor working conditions or negligence on the part of a warehouse owner, you may be entitled to workers compensation. At the Law Office of Donald S. Fair, we can help protect your rights after a warehouse injury. Contact us today at (909) 344-3011 to schedule a consultation.