The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says forthrightly that working in a warehouse can be risky. “More than 145,000 people work in over 7,000 warehouses,” OSHA reports. “The fatal injury rate for the warehousing industry is higher than the national average for all industries.” One measurement places warehouse operators and truck drivers as, respectively, the 14th and 15th most dangerous jobs in America, while the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that driving a truck is the 8th riskiest occupation.
Why The Risks?
Warehouse work is more demanding than most people realize. Employees are required to perform repeated movements in awkward positions day after day. They are exposed to hazards beyond their immediate control, including
- Stacked pallets of merchandise,
- Loading docks,
- Delivery trucks, and
In addition, they are work under tremendous time pressure to sort, store, and distribute merchandise as quickly as possible. Unrealistic deadlines lead to errors in judgment-such as forgetting to use team lifting or safety devices-that can easily lead to accidents.
When Accidents Happen, You Can Trust Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania are available injured workers without regard to who may have been at fault in causing the injury. Under state law, in exchange for guaranteed compensation for workplace injuries, all workers lose their rights to sue their employers or coworkers for any negligent acts that may have harmed them. However, in an effort to evade financial responsibility, some warehouses have been classifying their delivery drivers and stock crew as independent contractors rather than employees. In many cases, the business misclassifies its workers in order to avoid overtime law, but managers can also try to escape paying Pennsylvania workers’ comp benefits on when accidents occur. Your Pennsylvania injury attorney can act to hold your employer to his legal obligation-or he can file a personal injury lawsuit (which may each a larger settlement overall) against your boss.
Pennsylvania Workplace Injuries For Warehouse And Shipping Workers
In a workplace as varied as a warehouse, there are no limits to the variety of accidents that can occur. However, some types of injuries are the most common among warehouse workers. Our clients who work as distribution and delivery agents from warehouses report these complaints most often:
- Falls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that workplace clutter is a key cause for fall injuries on the job, and warehouses are notorious for cluttered travel paths. Likewise, unprotected drop-offs, such as those of loading docks, are associated with increased risks of falls from heights by truck drivers, merchandise loaders, and delivery personnel. In inclement weather, loading areas are also wet or icy, increasing the hazard on workers. Falls can cause all manner of injuries, including back and neck damage to spinal discs and broken bones.
- Forklift accidents. Of the many possible varieties of heavy equipment injuries, incidents involving forklifts are particularly acute dangers in Pennsylvania warehouses. Nationwide, about 100 workers are killed each year in forklift accidents at work, and thousands more suffer serious nonfatal injuries. Among the specific dangers are impalements, run-over accidents, turnover accidents, and incidents when the forklift drops heavy items onto a worker or causes a pile of boxes or containers to fall down on top of an employee.
- Lifting injuries. Carrying and moving heavy merchandise is an essential part of the job for warehouse, inventory, and delivery personnel. These workers all are at risk for lifting injuries due to overstrain, awkward postures, or repetitive motions. The minor damage caused by each slight strain can accumulate-often without triggering any discomfort-until the acute pain of a back injury, rotator cuff injury, or neck injury develops. Injuries caused by lifting may require surgery for even partial recovery.
- Motor vehicle accidents. Distribution workers and warehouse delivery agents are regularly traveling Pennsylvania roads, even in hazardous weather or late into the night, as part of their jobs. Even with excellent safety precautions in place, drivers are at risk from motor vehicle accidents. Although there is always a tendency to blame the truck driver when accidents occur, the fact is that driving professionals tend to have superior road skills. If the fleet is not properly maintained, a simple mechanical fault can lead to a complicated accident. A trucker who has been injured in a traffic accident in the course of his job should consult immediately with a Pennsylvania work injury attorney. Filing a third-party personal injury lawsuit may allow a better financial recovery than workers’ compensation permits.
- Musculoskeletal injuries. Loading dock workers, warehouse employers, and delivery workers are often vulnerable to a variety of bone, muscle, and joint injuries. Carrying or lifting heavy loads can cause back injuries and spinal damage. Strained muscles and sprains can result when packages fall on workers or equipment strikes a warehouse worker. Pulled muscles, twisted ankles, and fractured bones can follow a fall from a height or a trip on the stairs.
- Repetitive stress injuries. Performing highly routine labor that varies little from day to day can inflict a progressive toll on the human body. Tiny stresses accumulate over time to inflame muscle fibers and nerve pathways. Such repetitive trauma injuries may seem insignificant until a warehouse worker is overcome with unremitting pain during an acute flare-up. With computerized inventory systems now in place in many warehouse operations, carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel injuries have also become commonplace among warehouse employees who spend much of their workdays at keyboards.
Let The Bulldog Lawyers Help With Your Warehouse Injury
If you were hurt in a warehouse accident, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even if your employer says the incident was your own fault. For over 20 years, the Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation of Larry Levin and Jay Shor has been fighting to make sure all warehouse employees and delivery workers can get fair recoveries when they are injured on the job. We have offices in Philadelphia, Reading, and Harrisburg to allow convenient legal representation for any Pennsylvania worker whose benefits are delayed, denied, or terminated too early. Call 866-462-8553 today to get us started on helping you recover the compensation that you deserve.