Working in a distribution or warehouse environment can be physically demanding. Employees in these settings often face various work-related injuries due to the nature of the job.
Understanding the most common types of injuries in fulfillment centers and similar settings can help you stay safe at work.
Repetitive lifting, carrying and manual handling of heavy objects can damage the muscles, tendons and soft tissue. Common injuries can include strains, sprains, tears and muscle fatigue.
Slip, trip and fall incidents
Warehouses are often busy places with numerous potential hazards on the floor. You may encounter, spills, debris or uneven surfaces.
Employees are at risk of slipping, tripping and falling, leading to injuries like fractures, bruises or sprains. Fall injuries become even more dangerous if you work on ladders or scaffolding.
Forklifts are commonly used in warehouses, but they pose a significant risk. Accidents involving forklifts can result in serious injuries, such as crush injuries, broken bones and even fatalities.
Repetitive stress injuries
Workers who engage in repetitive tasks, such as scanning barcodes, using conveyor belts or packaging items, have a high risk of repetitive stress injuries. Over time, these injuries can lead to conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis.
In a busy warehouse, items can fall from shelves or storage racks, potentially striking employees below. These falling object accidents can result in head injuries, lacerations and concussions.
Exposure to harmful substances
Some warehouses deal with chemicals, fumes or hazardous materials. Workers exposed to these substances may suffer from respiratory problems, chemical burns or other long-term health issues.
In warmer climates, distribution and warehouse employees are at risk of heat-related illnesses. Heat exhaustion and heatstroke due to high temperatures and lack of proper ventilation can cause serious health emergencies.
Accidents can occur with heavy equipment and machinery if employees do not receive adequate training. Severe injuries and fatalities can happen when employers do not follow standard safety protocols.
Employees often have to work at a fast pace to meet deadlines. Overexertion can lead to exhaustion, fatigue and increased risk of various injuries. Data published by CNBC found that 70% of Amazon workers report taking time off for work-related exhaustion or pain in the past 30 days.
To prevent work-related injuries in distribution and warehouse settings, employers can implement safety training, provide proper personal protective equipment, enforce safety protocols and regularly inspect and maintain equipment. Employees should follow guidelines, use proper lifting techniques and report hazards.