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Warehouse worker injuries, fatalities increasing

As more Americans shop online, the number of warehouses across Georgia and the rest of the United States continues to grow. To accommodate increased demand, many warehouse employers are making changes to streamline efficiencies. Yet, the number of warehouse workers suffering injuries or dying on the job is increasing.  

Per EHS Today, the number of warehouse employees killed on the job doubled between 2015 and 2017. The injury rate among this population also continues to rise and is now 5.1 in 100. This is the same injury rate seen among those who make their living on farms.  

Contributing factors

Some of the injuries and fatalities suffered by warehouse workers are the result of workers having to interact more and more with motorized equipment. Examples of motorized equipment include autonomous robots or computerized forklifts. Some warehouse employers also ask their workers to work long, grueling overnight shifts. These difficult hours may lead to employee fatigue, and when employees have fatigue, they are more likely to experience injuries.  

Other warehouse injury and fatality risks are environmental. For example, cluttered floors, crowded entryways or obstructed exits all pose threats to warehouse workers.  

Safety directives

Warehouse employers have a duty to protect their workers on the job. Proper training is an essential part of reducing on-the-job injuries. Employers should also make efforts to reduce the ergonomic stresses their workers face. They may do so by modifying floor setups, maintaining appropriate indoor temperatures and training their workers in proper lifting techniques and warehouse processes.   

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the governing body responsible for setting safety guidelines and protocols for warehouses and other work environments. Employers that neglect to follow OSHA standards may face sanctions.