What Are the Most Reported Warehouse Workplace Injuries?
Many people work part-time, full-time, or seasonally in warehouses across the nation. Millions of people in the U.S. work in the warehouse industry. Why the popularity? Warehouse work typically offers high pay and benefits, which makes it a popular choice. However, working in a warehouse can also be dangerous, exposing workers to many hazardous conditions, which may lead to serious workplace injuries.
Warehouse accidents negatively affect a company; worker morale plummets, productivity suffers, and Workers’ Compensation claims rise. Therefore, it is pragmatic for all warehouse employers and workers know the most common types of warehouse injuries and ways to avoid being injured.
Though warehouse workers can experience many types of injuries, the following are the most frequently seen and reported:
- Forklift injuries: In the warehouse industry, forklifts serve practical purposes. They move around, can easily reach speeds of around 8 miles per hour, but they may become tipping hazards if not properly balanced when loaded. Workers may be crushed or run over by forklifts. Drivers of forklifts may fall or be hurt if the forklift tips over or collides with an object.
- Repetitive stress injuries: Warehouse workers often perform the same motions repeatedly every day. They may lift multiple boxes every hour. They may move items in and out of big-rig containers. They may stand in one place for long periods and maneuver or monitor items on a conveyor belt. Any repetitive use of the same muscle group can lead to strains, sprains, stress fractures, and soft tissue damage. For instance, carpal tunnel syndrome goes hand-in-hand with repetitive actions.
- Slip and fall injuries: Depending on the warehouse environment, the floors may become slippery or may be lined with cables, cords, and debris. Workers who slip and fall for any reason are at increased risk of broken bones, damaging the vertebrae in their back or neck, spraining a muscle or ligament, or even suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Falling object injuries: Getting struck by a falling or flying object happens to many warehouse workers every year. The end result of being hit can be deep bruising, broken bones, lacerations, eye injuries, facial and mouth injuries, TBIs, or even death.
- Chemical injuries: Warehouse workers may end up working with toxins and chemicals. Any hazardous exposure to the chemicals can lead to both external and internal burns. Serious chemical injuries often require extensive medical appointments and may lead to disfigurement.
- Loading dock injuries: The loading dock is a busy place in any warehouse. The combination of people and vehicles mixed with materials and objects can lead to injuries.
What Safety Precautions Can Warehouse Workers Take to Avoid Injury?
Warehouse workers want to make sure they come home safely after every shift. Every member of the warehouse team can play a part in making safety a priority. Below are several strategies for workers and their employers to reduce workplace accident rates:
- Complete training. A trained workforce feels more confident and makes wiser decisions even when the workplace gets busy. Training should happen from the moment an employee onboards into the company. It should continue from that point.
- Always wear the right safety equipment. Personal protective equipment (PPE) saves lives and reduces workplace injuries. Workers should understand they will be expected to wear proper PPE. Any PPE with known defects should not be used and should be replaced.
- Check equipment for safety issues. One method to stop warehouse injuries is to regularly check heavy machinery. Malfunctioning equipment and vehicles should receive maintenance before anyone uses them again.
- Keep work areas clean. A clean warehouse poses fewer slip and fall risks. Clean floors and unmarred views may also lower the chances of a forklift accident. Although many warehouse workers clean up at the end of their shifts, they may want to keep their work areas tidy during their working hours too.
- Learn proper ergonomics. The science of ergonomics focuses on the most efficient body movements necessary for any job. By utilizing ergonomically designed tools and equipment, warehouse workers may experience fewer overexertion and repetitive stress injuries.
Each of these prevention tips can help avoid workplace accidents. Nonetheless, sometimes warehouse injuries still occur despite taking the necessary precautions. In these situations, injured workers should know how to respond.
What Should Warehouse Workers Do After an Accident?
After a workplace accident, the warehouse worker should seek immediate medical attention. Even if the injury seems minor, workers deserve to get treatment. Many injuries that appear minor turn out to be more serious than originally assumed.
Before or after receiving treatment, the injured worker should report the accident to their superior. The superior will begin an accident or incident report. This report must be filed by the employer. Workers have a limited time to tell their supervisor about the accident. If they do not, they may not be able to file for Workers’ Compensation.
To file a Workers’ Compensation claim, the worker must get paperwork from the supervisor or Human Resources (HR) office. In New Jersey, Workers’ Compensation claims need to be submitted within two years from the accident date. Failure to do so will likely lead to a denial.
Some injured warehouse workers decide to seek the legal counsel of a lawyer when filing a claim or when having trouble with a claim. A lawyer may be able to help the process flow more smoothly, allowing the injured worker to focus on healing. Injured workers who have had their initial Workers’ Compensation claim denied frequently call a lawyer to discuss their options.
Piscataway Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Protect the Rights of Injured Warehouse Workers
Have you been hurt in a warehouse accident? If so, speak with one of our Piscataway Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Call us at 732-537-8570 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We are located in Highland Park, New Jersey, and we assist clients across New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.