If you work in a warehouse in Las Vegas, Nevada, then you are probably very familiar with the potential hazards. Every year, people are injured or even killed in warehouse accidents. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “The fatal injury rate for the warehousing industry is higher than the national average for all injuries.” Some of the most common injuries or accidents that happen while working in a warehouse are forklift injuries, slip and fall at work injuries, falling object injuries, repetitive stress injuries, overexertion injuries, conveyor belt injuries and toxic substance/hazardous materials injuries. If you get injured while working in a warehouse, you may be entitled to compensation, and it helps to have an experienced worker’s compensation attorney on your side.
When working in a warehouse, employees work with heavy machinery, including forklifts. OSHA states that approximately “100 employees are killed and 95,000 injured every year while operating forklifts in all industries.” Forklift injuries can occur due to being hit by a forklift or something falling off of a forklift, driving a forklift that malfunctions, having blocked vision, improper forklift operator training, having a forklift that rolls over or falls off an elevated area or a dock, or falling off of a forklift. Proper maintenance and safety protocols for operating a forklift should be part of every warehouse’s safety rules and guidelines.
Slip and Fall at Work Injuries
Slip and fall at work injuries can occur anyplace, including in a warehouse. You may trip over something left on the floor, slip on something that spilled, fall off a dock or a piece of machinery as stated above, or trip over uneven flooring or a crack in the floor. Such slip and falls can result in bone fractures or breaks, sprains, torn muscles, or more. Among other things, poorly lit areas of a warehouse, spills that are not cleaned up immediately, unrepaired stairs or flooring, improperly placed wires, and lack of safety rails all contribute to the thousands of slip and fall at work injuries across warehouses of every industry.
Falling Object Injuries
Warehouses often store goods and products high up on shelves containing large and heavy pallets. Common Amazon warehouse injuries are due to an item falling off of a high shelf and hitting someone below. Even a small item can become a dangerous projectile when falling from up high. Also, while moving something on a pallet with a forklift, something could go wrong and a product can fall off of the pallet or the entire pallet can come down if the forklift malfunctions or is improperly operated. This can lead to injury or even death; and, therefore, warehouses must have procedures in place regarding proper stacking of items and moving of pallets and products. In addition, loose items need to be secured when being moved on a pallet so that they do not shift and fall off and potentially hit someone.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
Warehouse jobs often entail repetitive movements, sometimes with awkward body positions — bending, reaching overhead, and lifting (including pushing or pulling) heavy objects are a few examples. This can cause repetitive stress injuries, including lower back strain, carpal tunnel, and arthritis. Repetitive stress injuries can be debilitating and can force someone to take off extended periods from work or even force them to stop working altogether. It is necessary to have appropriate breaks to relieve your body from any repetitive stress injuries that could occur.
Similar to repetitive stress injuries, lifting a heavy object can also cause an overexertion injury. Back, knee and other joint strains are common Amazon warehouse injuries (as well as other warehouse injuries). Warehouse safety guidelines should include instruction on how to properly lift heavy objects in order to avoid injury. It may not prevent all such injuries, but would go a long way in helping avoid some of these injuries.
Conveyor Belt Injuries
When warehouse personnel work with conveyor belts, different types of accidents may occur. A person’s clothing or body parts could get caught in the conveyor belt, which can lead to broken bones, getting crushed in the mechanical parts of a conveyor belt, amputation or strangulation. Items can fall off of conveyor belts, resulting in broken toes or toxic substances being spilled (causing exposure to toxic material or slip and fall injuries). Lacerations may occur from different parts of the conveyor belt. Warehouses need to ensure that conveyor belts operate properly and that their workers are trained on how to safely use the conveyor belt.
Toxic Substance/Hazardous Materials Injuries
Often, warehouses may house toxic or hazardous materials – as products they distribute or for machine use or cleaning purposes for the warehouse itself. Some of these chemicals may be inhaled or cause burns if a person is exposed to them. This can be due to a spill or improper packaging or some other cause that results in a warehouse worker contacting the toxic or hazardous substance. A warehouse must provide proper safety gear as well as ventilation in order to prevent skin, eye, or lung injuries caused by these substances.
What to Do if You Incur a Warehouse Injury
Warehouse owners are required to have safety protocols, including safety procedures and training, to help prevent all of the above-mentioned injuries. However, if one of these common warehouse injuries occurs, then there are a number of remedies to which you may be entitled. First, there is worker’s compensation. Warehouse employers are required by law to carry worker’s compensation insurance to cover workplace injuries. However, the worker’s compensation insurer and employer may try to deny an injured employee’s claim. This is when you would need a personal injury attorney who is used to fighting for their client to get what they are due under the worker’s compensation policy.
If your employer wrongfully denies you worker’s compensation for an at-work injury or does not carry worker’s compensation against Nevada’s state law, or if you are an independent warehouse contractor not covered by the company’s worker’s compensation coverage, then you can sue the employer directly.
At Shook & Stone, we have experienced lawyers and legal staff to handle your personal injury or worker’s compensation case in Las Vegas, Nevada. We have helped numerous clients who have been injured on the job at a warehouse and can help you understand your options and obtain that to which you are entitled under Nevada law. Please call us at 702-570-0000 for a free consultation. We are here to help you.