In December 2018, dozens of workers in an Amazon warehouse facility in Robbinsville, New Jersey were injured or sickened when an automated machine punctured a can of bear repellant. This week, workers at an Amazon facility in Shakopee, Minnesota went on strike to protest their working conditions.
Although Amazon seems to be making most of the headlines, warehouse workers across the country encounter challenges that put them at risk of a workplace injury.
Many of the most common injuries in warehouse facilities include:
Injuries caused by equipment
As workers in the bear-repellant accident learned the hard way, working with automated equipment can lead to serious issues. Conveyor belts, hand trucks, and other equipment found in warehouses can cause severe injuries without proper maintenance and training. OSHA estimates attribute about 95,000 injuries per year to forklifts alone.
Exertion & repetitive stress
Ergonomic-related injuries are incredibly common in warehouses, where workers often must quickly perform the same task again and again. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about one-third of worker injuries are musculoskeletal disorders due to either overexertion or repetitive stress.
Slip and fall injuries
Many warehouse injuries stem from unsafe work surfaces. From electrical cords to water or chemical spills, slippery surfaces can leave workers with a serious injury. In many cases, falls are preventable when there are procedures in place to quickly clean up spills.
Workers have rights. When they are injured on the job, they may be entitled to compensation from either workers’ comp insurance or a personal injury case against their employer.