As the number of Americans shopping online increases, so, too do the number of warehouses in operation across California and the nation and the number of employees working within them. More warehouses and warehouse workers mean more injuries and fatalities. These rising injury and fatality rates raise questions about what warehouse employers might do to better protect their workers and prevent work-related injuries and deaths.
Per EHS Today, warehouses are fast-paced environments. They also require workers to perform repetitive tasks, which may lead to repetitive motion injuries. Warehouse jobs are also more physically demanding than many other professional roles, leading to a wide range of back, musculoskeletal and other serious injuries.
Warehouse fatality statistics
The risks that warehouse workers face with regard to injuries and fatalities are increasing, with warehouse deaths doubling between 2015 and 2017. In 2015, there were 11 U.S. warehouse fatalities reported across the nation. By 2017, this figure had climbed to 22 fatalities.
Injury rates are also increasing among warehouse employees. The injury rate in warehouses has increased to the degree that is it now 5.1 injuries for every 100 full-time warehouse workers. This is the same injury rate experienced by farmworkers, who hold one of the nation’s most dangerous job titles.
What are some of the dangers associated with working in warehouses? Some of them are the result of warehouse employers increasingly replacing human workers with robots or motorized equipment. Employers often make these changes in an effort to boost efficiency. Yet, many of them fail to implement new safety standards that are in line with these new technological advances.
Warehouse employers must make efforts to protect their workforces to the fullest extent possible. To do so, they may want to study the root causes of warehouse injuries and fatalities and then work to mitigate them accordingly.