Warehouse workers conduct various tasks, such as breaking bulk materials down, labeling items, controlling inventory, assembling items, packaging orders, loading trucks and arranging transportation. Unfortunately, people who work in the warehousing and storage industry face serious risks when they perform these tasks.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the warehousing industry experienced a total of five injuries per 100 full-time employees in 2016. Here are some common hazards that injure warehouse workers.
1. Heavy equipment
When people work with heavy equipment every day, they may get too comfortable and confident. If a warehouse worker underestimates the power of a machine such as a forklift, there can be severe consequences. Warehouse employees should always be cautious when operating or working near machinery to avoid any unfortunate accidents.
Falling is a common cause of workplace injuries in warehouses. Certain employees may need to climb ladders or work at heights. If one falls from a higher level, he or she can suffer serious harm. There may also be risky surfaces in a warehouse causing workers to slip or trip. Certain hazards that lead to falls in warehouses include liquid spills, poorly lit areas, boxes lying around or loose materials.
3. Harmful substances
Some warehouses are full of hazardous chemicals and materials. For example, an old warehouse may contain asbestos. If the warehouse stores or ships chemicals, they could spill and cause injuries.
4. Falling objects
Most warehouses have high shelves with boxes or other objects stacked on them. This means that falling objects are a concerning health hazard.
5. Fires and explosions
Another cause of warehouse worker injuries is fire. Some warehouses may have leaking flammable fluids, exposed wires or improper ventilation that make fires more likely.
Working in a warehouse is often strenuous and risky. All warehouse workers should be mindful of potential workplace risks and do what they can to stay safe.