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Will robots cut down on Georgia warehouse worker injuries?

In a perfect warehouse world, there would be no workplace accidents and injuries. There would be no need for Georgia workers’ compensation benefits either. That’s because in a perfect warehouse world, there would be no workers. Instead, the moving, lifting, packing, shipping and transportation would all be handled by robots.

Our state has about 800 million square feet of warehouse space, with nearly 700 million square feet of that in the Atlanta metro area. Those jaw-dropping numbers make clear the motivation of warehouses and distribution centers to invest heavily in automation and robotics that can keep production high while cutting down on the numbers of worker injuries and Georgia workers’ comp claims.

Unsurprisingly, many on-the-job injuries to warehouse workers involve overexertion from lifting. These musculoskeletal-related injuries can be painful, require physical therapy and linger for extended periods of time.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says these types of injuries are typical due to either overexertion or repetitive motion. Nearly 39 percent of these injuries involve back the person’s back, the BLS said.

Clearly, warehouse robots designed specifically for heavy or repeated lifting can alleviate some of these back injuries.

Warehouse robots can also be equipped with sensors alerting them to people or objects in their paths, as well as computers that help avoid distribution bottlenecks in stocking or retrieving items. A recent article on warehouse robotics said the systems can also be designed to stop in their tracks before encountering a human or object in its path.

Another common cause of warehouse worker (and construction worker) injuries: falls. However, in warehouses, the robots can be programmed to work in multiple storage levels that might be too cramped and dangerous for humans. That space-saving feature is especially handy in urban areas such as Atlanta where it can be more cost-efficient to build higher rather than wider.

Workers in Jonesboro and surrounding communities who have suffered workplace injuries can contact a workers’ comp attorney experienced in appealing benefits denials.