Warehouses are integral to the logistics and supply chain, presenting an ever-changing work environment. Despite stringent safety regulations, warehouse injuries are common among workers. While workers’ compensation is a safety net for worker-related injuries, businesses must also take proactive measures to prevent accidents.
Warehouse owners, managers and supervisors must understand the most common injuries to help prevent them.
Slips, trips and falls
In 2021, over 850 workers died in slip-and-fall accidents, where hundreds of thousands suffered significant injuries. Generally, a slip-and-fall accident occurs because of wet surfaces, improperly stored items or uneven flooring. Warehouses must undergo regular maintenance and have proper signage with instructions on reducing the risk of fall accidents.
Manual handling and lifting
Lifting heavy objects is an intrinsic part of warehouse operations. However, improper and excessive lifting can result in musculoskeletal injuries. Warehouse workers have a higher chance of sustaining sprains, strains and other severe injuries. Comprehensive training, however, and the use of lifting aids can help mitigate some of the risks.
All warehouse workers operating a forklift should have adequate training and certification to drive safely. Forklifts can pose a significant risk when a staff member fails to use them safely. Pedestrian accidents, overturns and collisions are common accident types. Failure to train staff members on a forklift can become a liability for the company.
While warehouses often stack and store items, the stacked items also carry a risk of falling. Falling objects pose a significant threat to the workers below and can cause fatal injuries. All items should have adequate shelving systems and all warehouses require secure stacking procedures.
To further protect people from falling objects and other mishaps, warehouses should install safety features to prevent accidents within the warehouse.