Warehouse workers are under stress this holiday season, especially those workers at retail fulfillment or within the shipping chain. Warehouses contain a number of personal injury risks, such as heavy machinery, trucks, forklifts, conveyor belts, ladders, lifts, shelves, and greasy floors. Shipping and delivery work includes picking up inventory and products from warehouses, loading the goods into trucks, and then unloading the merchandise at other warehouses or directly to the consumer. Warehouse workers can suffer serious and even fatal injuries if employers fail to ensure the safety of the work environment.
Common Injuries for Warehouse Workers
Slip And Fall Accidents
Slip and falls are a common workplace injury. Slip and falls can cause serious and painful injuries, from broken bones to serious spinal cord injuries. Falls from an elevation, such as a lift or a tall commercial truck, are the most dangerous for workers. Slip and falls may happen in warehouses if there is water, oil, wax, grease, or debris on the floor. Failure to clean up spilled liquids and other hazards promptly can cause a slip and fall accident, as can inadequate warehouse safety procedures.
Forklift/Heavy Machinery Accidents
Warehouses rely on heavy machinery to lift and move stored merchandise to and from the warehouse and truck. Operating this machinery takes proper training, care, and attention. Negligent workers or poor training can lead to deadly forklift accidents. To avoid serious injuries, it is critical for employers to implement safety training and protocols regarding the operation of heavy machinery in the warehouse.
Falling objects can happen if workers fail to secure items properly on shelves or if shelving is unsafe due to defective products or poor construction. Falling objects in a warehouse are likely to cause serious head and brain injuries. A heavy item striking the skull (especially if the worker doesn’t have a helmet) can cause a bone fracture and an open head injury. It can also cause a closed head injury, where the brain bleeds or swells inside the skull without an open wound. Traumatic brain injuries can cause lifelong damage and disabilities for warehouse workers.
Workers can suffer life-threatening injuries if a collapsing rack crushes or pins them to the ground. Collapsing racks can happen if workers don’t build the rack according to accepted safety standards, over-encumber the rack with too much weight, or run forklifts into racks. Warehouse rack collapses can cause traumatic head and brain injuries, internal organ damage, and wrongful death.
Strain And Sprain Accidents
Muscle strains and sprains can happen in warehouse work when employees are required to lift and move boxes or other materials regularly. Lack of personal protection equipment, poor training, and too much pressure on workers to meet certain demands can lead to overexertion and muscle strains, especially in the back, knees, and feet. Repetitive motions, such as bending and lifting, can also cause musculoskeletal injuries.
What About Workers’ Compensation?
If your employer has workers compensation insurance for their employees, a warehouse worker who suffers a serious injury at work can file a workers’ compensation claim. The following are some of the benefits injured workers can file claims for:
- Compensation for Medical Expenses: Covers medical treatment, surgeries, prescription medications, rehabilitative devices, and transportation to and from medical appointments.
- Permanent Disability: If your injury leaves you unable to ever return to work, you can file a claim for permanent disability.
- Temporary Disability: You can get two-thirds of the wages of your average weekly amount if your temporary disability claim is approved.
- Life Pension: If you are severely disabled with more than a 70% permanent disability rating, you can receive weekly life pension benefits.
- Death Benefits: If a workplace injury results in death, the surviving members of the worker’s family can file a claim for death benefits to cover various expenses.
Do You Need a Workers Compensation Attorney?
If you believe your warehouse injury was caused by negligence or willful, reckless actions, you should speak with an attorney. At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we are dedicated to assisting clients throughout New Jersey and New York with their workers’ compensation cases. We have years of experience and the extensive resources you need to secure a fair case result. Contact us today for a free consultation.