Each day warehouse workers face serious injury risks performing the regular tasks of their jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 213,000 warehouse and transportation injuries were recorded in 2019.
The Most Common Risks to Warehouse Workers
Warehouse work is critical to keep supply chains running. However, daily tasks can be dangerous. They can be fatal, too, without proper training and safety equipment. Some of the most common risks that warehouse workers face every day are:
According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), one of the most common workplace and warehouse injuries is overexertion by lifting or moving too much weight. Pushing, pulling, or carrying heavy objects can cause twists, sprains, back strains, and other more serious issues with potentially long-lasting effects.
Slips and Falls
Slips and falls are another serious area of concern for warehouse workers. Wet concrete can be very dangerous and can lead to unexpected falls. Some warehouses have different flooring levels causing tripping hazards. Anyone who uses ladders to stock inventory or retrieve items from shelving may also put the worker at risk of falls with severe injury.
Forklifts are vehicles and they lift heavy loads. They often operate in confined spaces. This can be a recipe for disaster if the driver and nearby workers are not careful. Frightfully, the most common accidents involve when the forklift runs over someone or when a forklift turns over and injures or kills a worker. Additionally, employees can be pinned by forklifts, crushed, or fall off a lift connected to a forklift.
Loading Dock Accidents
Another hazard in a warehouse environment is loading docks where trucks pull up and workers load or unload equipment and inventory. If vehicles come too close and don’t see employees, they may be crushed or hurt or even fall off the loading dock. Shifting inventory can cause an avalanche, and workers hurt that way on a loading dock.
Many warehouses use vertical space to maximize storage. Objects stored on high shelves or scaffolding may fall and injure or kill workers below. It’s critically important to secure inventory and supplies stored at high levels in a warehouse environment. Sometimes these racks or shelving units themselves collapse and bring with them all the weight stored on top.
Burns and Fire
Often dangerous chemicals are stored within warehouses. As a result, chemical burns and fire are also serious dangers to watch out for. Always wear proper safety gear, use the correct equipment, and address spills and chemical leaks immediately.
What to Do if You Have Experienced a Warehouse Accident/Injury
Some employers will cut corners by avoiding installing proper safety equipment per state and federal laws. Signs, floor markings, and personal safety equipment are all preventative measures employers can use to prevent warehouse accidents.
If you have been injured in a warehouse accident, make sure to call a competent worker’s compensation attorney.