Warehouses are among the more dangerous places to work. While best-in-class facilities have plenty of safeguards in place, not all warehouses measure up to the same standard, and injuries occur on a regular basis.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.8% of full-time workers in the warehousing industry were injured in 2019, making it just under a one-in-twenty chance of sustaining an injury on the job. In this article, we’ll explore the causes and nature of these injuries.
Common Causes of Warehouse Accidents
Warehouses are host to many hazards, any of which can easily lead to workplace injury. Some of the most common hazards include the following.
Slip, Trip, and Fall Hazards
Stock items left in walkways spilled substances, and at-height work areas all create the potential for slip, trip, and fall injuries. Lack of cleanup, guard rails, or warning signs could make injury more likely. The resulting injuries range from minor bumps and bruises to life-threatening trauma and long-term disability.
Warehouse employees are used to working around heavy equipment, including forklifts and conveyor systems. These machines can easily cause serious injury at any time, so it’s important to take a great deal of care when working around them. However, for many, it’s easy to become complacent and careless, making an accident more likely.
Falling objects are always a hazard in a workplace with high shelves. Even objects stacked on pallets could topple if they’re not properly secured. When moving objects, lifting them with a forklift or stacking them, there’s a chance of injury to anyone standing nearby.
Finally, warehouses often stock hazardous substances. Products that contain these chemicals could spill, as could cleaning substances used by warehouse staff. Exposure to these substances could lead to lingering health problems. In addition, flammable chemicals pose an obvious danger as well.
Common Warehouse Injuries
Warehouse accidents can result in serious injuries. Even something as simple as a slip and fall injury could mean high medical costs and lost time from work. Injuries that may result from the above hazards include the following.
- Broken bones (ribs, limbs, etc.)
- Head and brain trauma
- Spinal injuries
- Nerve damage
- Lasting back or joint pain
- Crushed hands, fingers, feet, etc.
- Chemical and thermal burns
- Respiratory problems
Of course, accidents and catastrophes aren’t the only ways in which warehouse injuries can occur. Repetitive motions such as lifting and twisting could lead to lingering joint and back pain that is just as worthy of workers’ compensation coverage as obvious traumatic events.
Illinois Workers’ Compensation for Warehouse Accidents
If you work at a warehouse and have been injured in a workplace accident, your primary option for covering your expenses is workers’ compensation. The benefits you may be entitled to include:
- Coverage for medical expenses, including emergency care
- Job rehabilitation
- Temporary and permanent disability
- Lost time from work
It’s important to get medical help and report your injury as soon as possible, even if it seems minor. Warehouse injuries can get expensive, and you’ll need to make sure your employer pays the benefits that you’re owed.
You can also benefit from the representation of a workers’ compensation attorney, particularly if your employer or their insurance tries to deny your claim. If you are injured in a warehouse accident, contact an attorney as soon as possible.