What Are the Most Common Types of Warehouse Accidents?
The warehouse is a common setting for personal injury accidents in the workplace. Warehouses contain a number of personal injury risks, such as heavy machinery, trucks, forklifts, conveyor belts, ladders, lifts, shelves, and greasy floors. Warehouse workers can suffer serious and even fatal injuries if employers fail to ensure the safety of the work environment. Recognizing the most common types of warehouse accidents may help you avoid injuries in the future.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and falls are a common occupational injury. According to statistics, slip and fall accidents cause the most missed days from work out of all workplace injury accidents. They are the number one cause of workers’ compensation claims. For employees 55 and older, slips and falls are the most prevalent occupational injury risk. Slip and falls can cause serious and painful injuries, including:
- Broken bones, especially in the hips
- Sprained, pulled, and strained muscles
- Slipped discs/back and neck injuries
- Bruising and hematomas
- Traumatic brain injuries
- 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. It is critical for employers to implement safety training and protocols regarding the operation of heavy machinery in the warehouse. Otherwise, employees can suffer serious or fatal injuries.
One of the greatest factors contributing to construction worker deaths in the U.S. is falling objects. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 93 employees in America died in struck-by object accidents in 2016. In a warehouse setting, 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
One of the most frequent reasons for Alabama workers’ compensation claims is muscle strains and sprains. Warehouse work often requires employees 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.
Warehouse accidents are usually preventable. It is an employer’s legal duty to understand the risks of operating a warehouse, and to abide by federal laws for keeping the premises safe for workers. Failure to do so, resulting in injury or death, is negligence. Talk to a Birmingham personal injury lawyer for more information about warehouse accident claims in Alabama.