As Americans increasingly make their purchases online, the workload of the nation’s warehouse workers increases as well. Warehouse workers across New York and Pennsylvania already face numerous on-the-job hazards. Yet, as production demands increase, so, too, do the number of warehouse workers dying or suffering serious injuries on the job.
EHS Today reports that the injury rate among today’s warehouse workers is 5.1 per 100 full-time workers. This is one of the highest injury rates of any profession. It is also the same rate seen among farmworkers, who hold one of the United States’ most dangerous jobs.
The number of fatalities among American warehouse workers doubled over a recent two-year span. Between 2015 and 2017, the number of warehouse deaths per year increased from 11 to 22. There are several factors that are likely contributing to this uptick.
For starters, the demands, physical and otherwise, placed on warehouse workers are considerable. They often work long overnight shifts and perform regular heavy lifting and repetitive tasks. Many warehouse fatalities result from human-robot and human-machine interactions as warehouse employers try to streamline efficiencies by having the two work together.
Additional hazards are also regular contributors to warehouse injuries and fatalities. Many warehouse worker injuries are the result of poor ergonomics. Many such injuries and fatalities could also have been avoidable had employees received adequate training. Electrical systems and entry and exist area hazards also pose injury and fatality risks for warehouse workers.
Warehouse employers must follow all guidelines set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to protect workers on the job. Failing to do so may lead to serious sanctions.