Warehouse owners in the Atlanta area who prioritize employee safety will likely experience improved productivity, which will have a positive impact on the bottom line. However, not all workers are fortunate enough to enjoy health and safety protection in their workplaces. If your employer fails to comply with the safety regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, you may have to take precautions to prevent injuries.
Various hazards exist in warehouses, and many Georgia workers fall victim to workplace accidents every year. If you cannot avoid an injury, you might find yourself facing mounting medical bills and be unable to work for an extended period.
Typical safety hazards in warehouses
If you want to take charge of your own safety, the first step would be to become familiar with the following potential safety hazards you might encounter:
- Musculoskeletal injuries: If your job requires you to lift, carry, push, pull and place heavy objects during manual material handling such, as picking orders and handling pallets, learning proper lifting techniques might prevent injuries. Typical workers’ compensation claims in this industry involve back and shoulder injuries.
- Forklift accidents: Forklifts are extremely hazardous because they operate among employees that move about on foot. The risks include being crushed by the forklift against another surface, tip-overs of the vehicle or unbalanced loads. Lifting workers to higher levels on the prongs of a forklift can cause catastrophic injuries. Driving off unprotected edges, such as loading docks, are the cause of many forklift accidents.
- Falling objects: Improperly stacked objects on shelves and platforms cause significant hazards, and the higher the shelves the greater the risk of falling objects. Avoid building stacks too high, and ensure that racks are strong enough to carry the loads.
- Slips, trips and falls: Spillages, leaks and gravel brought into the warehouse by forklifts can cause slip-and-fall accidents with severe consequences. Randomly placed stocks and objects in walkways pose trip hazards. Good housekeeping is essential to eliminate these hazards.
- Fire: The threat of fire in a warehouse is likely the most serious of all risks. Although building regulations are strict when it comes to fire extinguishers and emergency exits, it is important to avoid stacking anything in front of them. Furthermore, exposed wires and unidentified spills, leaks and gases that can ignite must receive attention immediately.
No matter how careful you are, a co-worker’s negligence could cause a warehouse accident that leaves you injured. If this should happen, you might find comfort in knowing that the Georgia workers’ compensation insurance program will have your back. You can file a benefits claim that should cover all your medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. Seeking legal guidance can be beneficial.