Warehouse workers provide a valuable service to businesses across the country through stocking, labeling, shipping, and storing a wide variety of products. Unfortunately, this labor-heavy job comes with a high risk of injuries for its workers. Along with a slew of back problems from lifting heavy objects consistently, workers face other dangers, such as being crushed by falling objects, falling on slippery floors, and forklift accidents.
Tripping and falling is a serious concern for warehouse workers, particularly if they are carrying a heavy load. Packaging, roping, or other materials can pose dangers to workers if left on the floor, and wet surfaces are easy to slip on. A fall on a hard warehouse floor can mean broken bones, muscle injuries, and a host of other damages that could keep a worker out of commission for weeks or maybe even permanently.
High shelving requires ladders, mechanical pickers, and workers who have to operate high above the ground. This creates the potential for both objects falling onto a worker below and a worker falling from a dangerous height. Either situation could lead to injuries ranging from bruises to head trauma, spinal injury, or even death.
Handling heavy loads on a frequent basis puts strain on the muscles and bones of workers, particularly in the lower back. The vast majority of warehouse workers develop some type of back problem after working for a few years. Chronic pain, difficulty walking, and nerve damage can lead to difficulty performing everyday tasks and an increasing physical strain for workers who continue to lift heavy objects.
Workplace Forklift Accidents
Forklifts are necessary to move large loads through warehouses, into trucks, and across distances. These machines can pose a danger when not operated properly, however, and forklifts cause 100 deaths and over 95,000 injuries every year, according to OSHA. Other mechanisms, such as conveyor belts, charging stations, and lifts can pose a hazard to workers when proper precautions are neglected.
Common examples of forklift accidents can include:
- Employees or pedestrians being hit by forklifts
- Forklifts elevating people who then fall or are dropped
- Forklifts tipping over
- The load falling off of the forklift and injuring another worker
Many of the tragic accidents in warehouses across the country can be avoided through diligent safety procedures. Training employees in safe practices for machinery and lifting can reduce risks and minimize damage, and equipment such as hard hats and gloves can further protect workers in the event that an accident should occur. Poorly trained forklift drivers, inadequate maintenance of forklifts, hasty operation, incompatible warehouse design to accommodate forklift size, poorly stacked pallets, and overweight loads can all contribute to workplace forklift accidents.