Warehouses and storage areas are full of bustling activity. Products and pallets must be shifted, stacked, unloaded, and loaded. Inventory must be correctly labeled, managed, packaged, and fulfilled as efficiently as possible in a neverending race to keep the supply chain moving.
But when proper procedures and safety guidelines are ignored or a machine or tool breaks, it can have serious consequences. Warehouse and logistics workers are more likely to suffer injuries if their health and safety are compromised or ignored. There is also the reality that even if everyone does their job right, something could still go wrong.
We will examine the most common warehouse injuries, which warehouse experiences the highest number of worker injuries, and how to protect your workers’ compensation claim if you are seriously injured on the job.
Common Warehouse Injuries
With so many people and machines in motion, a warehouse work accident is bound to happen. This is especially true if managers encourage or force employees to work longer shifts, cut corners, and neglect safety measures in favor of speed.
Warehouse workers may suffer a range of injuries that include:
- Sprains, strains, and tears
- Soreness and pain, such as back pain and shoulder pain
- Bruises (contusions)
- Cuts, lacerations, and puncture wounds
- Broken bones
- Crushed limbs
- Traumatic brain injuries
Warehouse injuries can be caused by repetitive motion strain, overreaching, repeatedly lifting heavy objects, falls, being hit by falling objects, forklift accidents, and handling hazardous materials.
Warehouses With the Most Reported Injuries
Due to consumers’ high demand for products, the number of warehouse employees has doubled in the last 10 years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that by 2030 warehouses will employ nearly 2 million people.
Amazon has made headlines in recent years for the dangerous and grueling conditions they have forced their warehouse workers to endure. Amazon employees face a significantly higher warehouse injury rate than their counterparts who work at competing warehouses.
Workers at Amazon are also injured more severely. In 2020, 5.9 injuries per 100 Amazon warehouse workers required time off from work or placement on light or restricted duty — a rate that is nearly 80% higher compared to the rest of the warehouse industry.
While workers suffer on-the-job injuries in other warehouse facilities run by companies like Walmart, Target, and UPS, their warehouse injury rate is far lower when compared to Amazon.
With the number of warehouses and warehouse workers expected to increase, employers must take responsibility for ensuring the safety of their employees. The guidelines created by OSHA have proven to be effective at reducing worker injury and death — since 1970, workplace injuries are down by 42%, and occupational deaths have decreased by 62%.
Sometimes supervisors and companies ignore these safety guidelines in favor of profit and expediency. When this happens, warehouse workers pay the price — in rare cases, with their lives.
Nearly 228,000 transportation and warehouse work injuries were reported in 2019. In the same year, 24 warehouse fatalities were recorded, more than double the amount just a few years prior.
There is also a financial toll. According to the National Safety Council, the cost per work injury that required medical treatment was $42,000, while the cost per death was more than $1.2 million in 2019. The cost of these work incidents includes insurance, medical bills, equipment damage, lost production time, and training replacement staff.
When to Report a Warehouse Injury
In Georgia, you generally have 30 days to report an injury to receive workers’ compensation medical care and lost wage benefits. It is best to report the incident to your manager or supervisor immediately after an injury occurs or once you become aware of a long-term injury that developed over time.
Reporting an injury in a timely manner will allow you to receive proper medical treatment, as well as reduce the insurance company’s ability to argue that your injuries are not that serious.
The first few days after you report a work injury are crucial for protecting your interests. Before you sign anything or make a decision, talk to one of our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys for insight regarding your case.
Warehouse Injury Lawyer
If you or someone you know was injured while working in a warehouse or at a job where they are responsible for tracking inventory, you deserve to be compensated for your lost time and medical bills.
At Gary Martin Hays & Associates, we offer guidance and advice to injured workers about what forms they need to fill out, important deadlines, and what to say to their doctors and employers. We cannot stress enough how important it is to promptly report your injury and properly handle your case from the beginning.
It’s our job to represent employees injured on the job in Georgia who need medical care and wage benefits. We ensure your injuries are accurately represented in the medical record and that neither the workers’ compensation doctor assigned to you nor your employer can get away with ignoring your pain and suffering.
Contact our Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyers today for a free consultation regarding your work injury claim.