Warehouse work in Pennsylvania and around the country is becoming far more dangerous. Figures from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reveal that the number of warehouse workers killed in on-the-job accidents doubled between 2015 and 2017, and injuries in warehouses are now as common as they are in the agricultural sector. Industry insiders believe the rise in warehouse injuries and deaths is partly due to the deployment of autonomous equipment like robots and driverless forklift trucks.
Another problem is the pressure warehouse workers are put under to perform sorting and packing tasks quickly. Retailers like Amazon sell thousands of products every minute, and production is often prioritized over safety in their fulfillment centers. Workplace safety experts say that this kind of thinking is flawed, and they point out that the time saved by ignoring minor safety issues pales in comparison to the time and money that is lost when a worker is injured or killed.
Warehouse workers often perform repetitive tasks such as labeling, packing, and sorting. Repetitive motion causes physical distress, and the effects may be more pronounced in warehouse environments that tend to be hot and noisy. Boxes and clutter in aisles and walkways is another common warehouse hazard. This often happens when offloading is rushed so workers can get back to processing customer orders.
Warehouse workers who suffer a workplace injury will usually be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, but their claims may be challenged by employers concerned about higher insurance premiums. In these situations, attorneys with experience in this area could advocate on behalf of injured clients during workers’ compensation hearings. Attorneys could also help injured workers to avoid delays caused by missing or incomplete documents by helping them with their claims paperwork.