Accidents at Distribution Centers
June 6, 2018
Pennsylvania has become a hub for warehouse and distribution centers. Companies like Food Lion Distribution, Target, K-Mart, Staples, Proctor & Gamble, Georgia Pacific, Ross Distribution, Office Depot, Amazon, and Lindt Chocolate have made Pennsylvania their home. With these increased facilities, we see more and more serious and sometimes fatal workplace injuries.
Tight delivery schedules and high stress on the job contribute to workplace accidents, but so does improper training and failure to follow mandated safety procedures. The United States Department of Labor reports an estimated 95 million work days are lost each year to warehousing and distribution center injuries. Over 100 people are fatally injured and another 20,000 people are injured by forklift accidents alone. The National Safety Council estimates the cost of each of these injuries to be between $38,000 to $150,000.
Common Types of Warehouse Injuries
The most common types of warehouse and distribution center injuries stem from forklift accidents, loading dock mishaps, working in busy materials and storage areas, operating conveyer belts, and lifting and handling packages and materials. Slip and fall accidents are the most dangerous of all, resulting in 25 percent of all fatal accidents. Severe and sometimes fatal injuries to the head, neck, and back can occur when workers slip and fall on wet surfaces covered in grease and other chemical residue, trip over boxes and electrical cords left in high traffic areas, or fall from elevated work platforms.
Forklift accidents are very common in warehouse and distribution centers. Improperly trained forklift operators can overload their equipment causing the forklift to overturn. Crowded work areas can cause forklift operators to run into people or knock over heavy boxes or containers. Falling objects and overturned forklifts often cause crush-injuries to workers .
Torn ligaments, muscle tears, neck and shoulder injuries, nerve damage, joint deterioration, and hand or back injuries are often caused by overexertion and repetitive movements. Lifting heavy objects, working with conveyer belts, and moving parcels on and off trucks and cargo haulers can leave workers with rotator cuff tears, lumbar and upper back pain, knee joint injuries, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Turnover rates at warehouse and distribution facilities are often high with many workers being temporarily employed during peak seasons. Seasonal and temporary employees are often improperly trained and lack supervision, which causes a high number of accidents and injuries. Proper safety training and strict enforcement of safety procedures can prevent a multitude of accidents and injuries.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines companies that violate safety mandates as much as $70,000 for each violation. Under OSHA’s watchful eye over the past 50 years, there has been a 62 percent reduction in the rate of occupational fatalities and over a 40 percent reduction in the number of job-related injuries across the United States. While this is good news, compliance with OSHA’s safety standards can prevent even more warehouse and distribution center injuries.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Advocate for Injured Workers
If you have been injured on the job, and have questions about your rights, the experienced Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation and personal injury lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP can help . Call us at 800-222-8792 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania, serving clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.