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Warehouse workers see high injury, fatality rates

New York warehouses have long been dangerous places to earn a living, but research shows they have become increasingly so in recent years. The number of warehouse workers dying on the job has risen rapidly in a recent two-year span. There are several factors that may be contributing to the increase.

EHS Today reports that fatality rates in American warehouses doubled between 2015 and 2017.

Warehouse fatality and injury statistics

In 2015, 11 warehouse workers lost their lives on the job as the result of falls, electrical accidents or other work-related circumstances. In 2017, there were 22 warehouse fatalities nationwide. Some of these deaths might have been preventable had more care went into training, safety protocols or both.

Injuries are also common in warehouse work. The injury rate for warehouse workers has reached 5.1 injuries for every 100 warehouse workers employed full-time. This is the same injury rate seen in the farming profession, which has long been one of the nation’s most dangerous.

Warehouse risks and hazards

Warehouse workers also face many on-the-job hazards, from forklift- and pallet jack-related hazards to electrical and ergonomic risks. Insufficient training is a factor in many warehouse accidents and mishaps. Many warehouse worker injuries and deaths also involve exit or entry hazards, repetitive motions or interactions involving workers and robots or motorized equipment. In some cases, warehouse injuries and fatalities are the result of fall-related hazards, such as wet floors or poorly lit areas.

Warehouse employers in the United States must follow the safety standards and guidelines set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Employers may face sanctions for noncompliance.

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