As an employee in a Nebraska warehouse, you know you provide a valuable service to the nation's economy. Distributing goods to businesses and consumers keeps the country moving forward, and you may be feeling even more pressure as the holiday shopping season approaches.
It is imperative that, even under stressful conditions, you and you co-workers follow protocol for safety and caution. As beneficial as your work may be, it is also potentially dangerous. In fact, in a single year, over 17,000 warehouse employees suffered injuries serious enough to keep them from working. This number does not include those whose injuries resulted in death.
Danger is all around you
Distribution centers for different industries carry their own unique hazards. However, lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling large boxes or other products often lead to the most common workplace injury: overexertion. Overexertion can damage your muscles, tendons or joints and is almost entirely preventable. By using proper lifting procedures, safety equipment and tools, you may spare your arms, back and legs the strain that can cost you days off work. In addition to overexertion, warehouse work makes you vulnerable to any of the following accidents and others:
- Injuries when you come in contact with moving parts, such as conveyor belts or motors
- Forklift accidents, that may include crashes, tip overs and wrecks that cause shelving to collapse
- Slipping and tripping on slick floors, uneven surfaces, clutter or debris, among other things
- Falls, both at ground level and from heights, such as when standing on the forks of a lift
- Injuries from objects falling from high shelves or raised forks
- Exposure to harmful substances, such as chemicals or carcinogens
Warehouse fires are another danger you may not like to think about. However, over 1,000 fires occur in warehouses each year, and dozens of workers suffer injuries. It is critical that you and your co-workers know where the fire extinguishers are located in your building and how to react to a fire that may involve volatile products in your warehouse.
Ideally, your employer provides adequate safety equipment and regular training and encourages an environment where safety is a top priority. Your employer should also carry workers' compensation insurance to cover your medical bills, lost wages and other expenses if you should suffer any type of injury or work-related illness. Having legal advocacy throughout the process of claiming these benefits may improve your chances of maximizing your claim.