Most Common Injuries For Warehouse Employees
Over 1.7 million people work in the warehousing industry. That’s over 600,000 more, warehouse employees, in the US than three years ago and over a million more than ten years ago.
As the number of people working in warehouses increases, so does the number of work-related injuries. In 2020, the industry saw 21 deaths and 4.8 injuries for every 100 full-time employees.
Warehouses can be dangerous work environments, but what injuries happen the most often, and what do you do if you get injured on the job?
Related: 10 Most Dangerous Jobs
Forklift accidents are common in warehouse and storage facilities, and they’re also a top cause of workplace injuries and fatalities. The NIOSH says that forklift accidents consist of a combination of workplace environments and operator error. These accidents can result from overturning the forklift, losing control, or dropping heavy products during loading and unloading.
In 2020, forklifts caused 78 deaths and 7,290 injuries in the workplace. 23% of those accidents were in the transportation and warehousing industry.
Overexertion is a massive problem for warehouse workers, resulting in injuries from employees putting their bodies through too much stress. These injuries can limit their movement and cause chronic pain for their entire lives. The BLS recorded over 8,000 injuries due to overexertion in 2017.
While about 60% of these injuries affect the back, muscle strains and tendon and nerve injuries are also common in warehouse workers. In addition, overexertion injuries often occur when employees aren’t properly trained or when someone gets asked to complete a task they aren’t physically capable of performing.
Loading Dock Accidents
Loading docks are one of the most dangerous places for warehouse employees. Not only do 25% of all warehouse accidents happen on loading docks, but for every injury, there are around 600 near misses.
Warehouse workers can fall off docks, get hit by trucks or forklifts, or get injured when loading or unloading heavy materials. They can also be victims of CO poisoning if they work for long periods near running trucks.
Slips and Trips
While less common than other warehouse accidents, slips and trips still happen often. In 2017, the BLS recorded over 3,000 incidents. Common causes of slips and trips in warehouses include:
- Slippery materials, like water and oil
- Workers with inappropriate footwear
- Uneven surface
- Unseen platforms or steps
- Loose or wrinkled flooring
- Exposed wires, cables, and cords
- Clutter in the workplace
- Poorly lit work areas
Warehouse workers often work with trucks coming in and out constantly. As a result, trucking accidents are far from uncommon, and they can occur in the parking lot or on a loading dock. Employees can get injured moving materials in and out of them, and trucks can shift, separating them from the dock and leaving a space where workers can fall or trip.
Trucks can also hit workers while backing up, and fatigue is a serious issue for many truck drivers. Those conditions make warehouse worker injuries much more likely. Working around trucks poses a problem for forklift drivers who move heavy loads to and from the trucks on the loading dock. Shifting trucks or careless drivers can quickly send a forklift and its operator off a loading bay’s edge.
In accident reports, falls often fall into the slips and trips category; however, they can be quite different. We already mentioned falls from loading docks, which can result in death or serious injury, but ladders are another common cause. Unfortunately, even the most stable ladder and cautious worker can’t prevent getting bumped by other employees or forklift drivers.
Forklifts pose another issue here, too: when workers are elevated on their forklift to reach higher places, dangerous falls can quickly occur.
What Can I Do If I Get Injured At Work?
If you’re a warehouse worker who got injured at work, follow these four steps:
- Get Medical Attention
- Notify Your Employer
- File a Workers’ Comp Claim
- Talk to a Workers’ Comp Attorney
The first thing to do if you get injured is to deal with it. If your warehouse has on-duty medical staff, see them right away. If it’s a serious injury, get to emergency services immediately. Don’t tough it out, and ensure that the medical facility you go to knows that it’s a work-related injury—this is crucial for your workers’ comp claim.
Then, once you’ve had your injury taken care of, you need to notify your direct supervisor or employer. Tell them as soon as possible—if you wait too long, it will be extremely challenging to get your employer’s insurance to pay for your injuries.
If your employer’s insurance company accepts your claim of injury, you’ll begin receiving workers’ comp benefits. If they refuse to pay for your medical bills and time off of work, you’ll need to start filing a workers’ compensation claim. Do this right away!
If the warehouse you work for and its insurance company deny your benefits, you’ll want someone on your side when filing a claim. They don’t want to pay you, and they’ll often look for any excuse to refuse payment or pay you the bare minimum. An experienced workers’ comp attorney can help you navigate through the workers’ comp system to get the benefits you’re owed.
How Invictus Law Can Help If You Get Injured On the Job
Getting injured on the job is bad enough. If your employer and their insurance refuse to help you deal with that injury, it makes it even more difficult. At Invictus Law, we specialize in workers’ comp cases, and we can help you file your claim the right way to get any benefits that you may be entitled to.