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Warehouse worker injuries, fatalities increasing

Louisiana’s warehouse workers have physically demanding jobs. As the number of consumers shopping online continues to increase, so does the number of warehouse workers needed to supply the growing demand. Warehouse work comes with a high risk of injuries and fatalities, and the number of warehouse workers sustaining on-the-job injuries is increasing.

Per EHS Today, the number of deaths in American warehouses doubled between 2015 and 2017, jumping from 11 warehouse fatalities in 2015 to 22 in 2017. The injury rate among warehouse workers is also rising. It is now 5.1 injuries for every 100 full-time warehouse workers employed, which is the same high injury rate seen in farming.

Warehouse risks and hazards

As warehouse employers struggle to fill jobs, some of them are asking existing workers to work long overnight shifts. Heavy manual labor combined with a lack of sleep may lead to on-the-job injuries and accidents. Other warehouse accidents are the result of human workers increasingly interacting with robots, autonomous forklifts and other technologies.

Reducing warehouse risks and hazards

Today’s warehouse employers have an obligation to train their workers about how to avoid injuries and fatalities. Areas of focus might include proper warehouse ergonomics, proper forms of respiratory protection and proper use of forklifts and pallet jacks, among others. Workers should also learn how to avoid and minimize any exit and aisle hazards and how to avoid electrical injuries.

Warehouse employers may also want to evaluate the safety of their work environments both in busy and slow times and promptly address any hazards that may lead to warehouse worker injuries.

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