As the retail business model evolves, it may place warehouse workers in Minnesota and throughout the country at a greater risk of injury. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the injury rate for warehouse workers is 5.1 per 100 workers. There were 22 warehouse fatalities in 2017, which was double the number recorded in 2015. One risk that workers may face is increased interaction with robots and other autonomous machines.
As the pace of technological change increases, it is important that organizations take steps to keep their workers safe. Ideally, they will take safety metrics as seriously as they take productivity metrics, and this means ensuring that they spend both time and money looking for and eliminating hazards. Companies should also be wary of events that almost result in injuries as they could provide clues about hazards that need to be mitigated.
Warehouses should be designed to provide for ergonomic and physical safety. This means that employees should have access to tools that will prevent injuries related to excessive bending, reaching or straining. It is also important to ensure that warehouses aren’t too hot or too cold as this can create unnecessary stress. The stress a worker feels could result in a higher risk of injury as well as reduced productivity.
Companies that don’t comply with OSHA or other applicable standards may face a variety of consequences. For instance, an employer may face fines or other penalties levied by the government. An injured worker may be entitled to workers’ compensation or other benefits after experiencing neck, back or other health problems caused by an unsafe workplace. Workplace injury victims may use photos, videos or other types of evidence to show that they were subject to unsafe conditions while on the job.