Warehouse Injury in Houston
The continuing surge in online shopping has undoubtedly made an impact on the US economy and the local economy in Houston. 2017 was a record year for warehouse construction in Houston with 7 new warehouses, each in excess of 400,000 square feet. Consumer shopping habits continue to move away from “brick and mortar” stores to online, the most popular site being Amazon. The Port of Houston, which is the 4th largest in the US makes the city an attractive place for distribution centers.
Surprisingly, warehouses have higher rates of serious injury than other industries. Perhaps it is a lack of training or absence of safety procedures when it comes to storage and placement of heavy items or maybe the poor design of elevated rack space. Any of these factors can lead to injury.
OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration continues to see a high incident rate of injury among forklift operators in a warehouse. Forklift training is a must in order to have a safe working environment and these days with the high number of teenagers and young adults working in warehouses, anyone under 18 should be prohibited from operating a forklift. Here are some of the injuries you might sustain when operating a forklift:
Broken bones, hands and arms. Driving a forklift down the aisles of a warehouse takes care and precision. The racks of elevated shelves and bins can go from the floor up to 30 or 40 feet. If the load you can carrying is 6 feet wide you need to make sure you have clearance in the aisle. If you hit the shelves and bins, the heavy weight of the load can cause the racks to collapse causing serious injury to you or your co-workers as the materials fall to the ground. If the warehouse aisles are wide enough material may be stacked on the floor on pallets. If you run into these they too can topple and cause injury to you, the driver of the forklift or other warehouse personnel.
Head injuries and concussions. Forklifts have a maximum load capacities and in addition to that a forklift operator has to consider the weight, size and position of the load. A forklift may be designed to carry 4,500 pounds but if the dimensions of the load exceeds the standard pallet size of 48 inches you can cause the forklift to tipover while in motion which can cause head injuries and concussions.
Crushing injuries. One of the most difficult maneuvers for a forklift driver is to remove warehouse materials from the highest shelf and bin. With the lift mechanism extending to its maximum you have to be very careful and consider the weight of the load. In many cases the load on the top shelf will exceed 30 feet and one wrong move can result in the load falling to the ground causing serious crushing injuries to the driver and other warehouse employees.
Lifting and Material Handling Injuries
Warehouse personnel perform a number repetitive tasks when they are lifting, moving or handling material. All employees need to be trained on safe techniques so they can avoid injuries to their back. If a box or a pail is too heavy make sure they know to get the assistance of a coworker. Employees should be trained to use mechanized equipment when loading and unloading trucks and management should not pressure them to unload trucks in an unreasonable amount time as this can lead to improper lifting, poor ergonomics and injury.
Lacerations, Eye Injury and Broken Bones
Personal protective equipment should be mandatory for all warehouse employees. This would include hardhat to prevent head injuries, hard-toed shoes or boots to prevent broken toes from dropped or fallen materials and gloves to prevent lacerations and cuts to hands and wrists. If the warehouse handles paint, paint thinners or any types of chemicals employees must wear eye protection. Any splash or spill can result in eye injury.
If you were injured working at a warehouse in Houston contact our personal injury lawyers to talk about your accident. The call is always free Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. 713-221-6800.