The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that forklifts are involved in nearly 85% of warehouse worker deaths each year.
Many possible dangers lurk in a warehouse, from poisonous gases to explosive chemicals. But what is the most dangerous element in a warehouse? There are many factors to consider when answering this question. First, let’s look at the hazards found in a warehouse. Then, we’ll examine the most dangerous element of them all and how to prevent them.
4 Main Types of Hazards Found in Warehouses
Warehouses are full of potential hazards. Here are four of the most common:
- Physical Hazards: These include trip and fall hazards, falling objects, and manual handling injuries.
- Chemical Hazards: These include exposure to hazardous materials, such as cleaning chemicals or pesticides.
- Biological Hazards: These include exposure to bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens.
- Ergonomic Hazards: These hazards can cause musculoskeletal disorders, such as back injuries, or repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
However, of all the potential hazards in a warehouse, the forklift is the most likely to cause severe injury or death. In fact, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that forklifts are involved in nearly 85% of warehouse worker deaths each year.
Why Are Forklifts So Dangerous?
There are many reasons. First, they are very large and heavy and can cause severe injuries if they hit a worker.
Second, unlike other vehicles, such as cars or trucks, which have seatbelts and other safety features, forklifts do not. If it overturns, the operator can be ejected from the vehicle and seriously injured or killed.
Third, they are often used in close quarters, which increases the risk of collision.
Fourth, workers who operate forklifts may not have received proper training on using them safely. Improper forklift use can lead to tipping over and falling off ledges.
Finally, forklifts often carry heavy loads, which can fall and injure workers if they are not adequately secured.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Forklift Accidents?
There are many things that warehouse managers and workers can do to prevent forklift accidents, such as:
- Providing proper training for all forklift operators
- Inspecting forklifts regularly and ensuring they’re in good working condition
- Maintaining a safe work environment by keeping clutter and obstacles out of the way
- Following all safety rules and regulations when using forklifts
What if a Forklift Accident Happens?
The first step you should take if in a forklift accident is to seek medical attention. You should always see a doctor even if you don’t think you’re injured. Some injuries, such as concussions, may not be immediately apparent.
After you’ve seen a doctor, you should report the accident to your employer and file a workers’ compensation claim if necessary. We recommend you make your report in writing. This is important as it will create a paper trail that can be used as evidence if you need to file a lawsuit.
More importantly, consult with an attorney. A good lawyer will help you understand your legal rights and options and can fight for the compensation you deserve.
We’re Here to Help!
Have you or a loved one been injured in a forklift accident? Experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of James. M. Hoffmann can help. We have handled many cases involving forklift accidents, and we know what it takes to win. Call us today for a free consultation.
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