Experience Brings Results

Warehouse injuries on the rise

According to data maintained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the injury rate for full-time warehouse workers is the same as for farmers at 5.1 injuries per 100 workers. Additionally, the number of warehouse work-related fatalities doubled from 11 to 22 each year over the course of only two years, from 2015 to 2017. The reasons behind the increased risk of warehouse injuries in Oregon and across the country might be attributed to the rapidly increasing pace of warehouse jobs.

Warehousing and shipping mega-giant Amazon sells more than 4,000 products every minute of every day and manages more than 150 million square feet of warehousing space. The race to automate warehousing tasks will likely eventually replace human workers with robots and artificial intelligence. In the meantime, however, there is an increase in the stress, repetitiveness and pace of warehouse jobs. There are also new hazards in the warehousing industry as companies are working with new technologies.

Worker training is one area that can help to improve and promote the safety of employees in warehouse jobs. Employers should hold safety meetings regularly to discuss the common issues that lead to time-off-work injuries. These meetings may be offered in different languages to accommodate workers who do not speak English. Meeting topics should cover hazard communications, exit hazards, respiratory protection, transmission of mechanical power and ergonomics. Companies may review the standards issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Commission for guidelines regarding lowering risk to workers.

Employees who suffer on-the-job injuries in Oregon might be entitled to recovery through the state's workers' compensation system. An attorney could help a hurt worker by gathering evidence of the circumstances of the injury or conducting witness interviews to build a claim. An attorney might put together and submit a workers' comp claim or communicate with officials on behalf of the client.

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