There are many common causes of warehouse accidents, and most of these have one thing in common – they are often entirely preventable. Warehouses are filled with lots of high racking and shelves, forklifts moving stock around, workers walking around various areas, and lots of boxes of all shapes and sizes, some of which are heavier than others. This setting does set the stage for many potential accidents to occur. Knowing what some of the most common causes of warehouse accidents are goes a long way towards preventing them.
If you have been hurt in a warehouse accident recently, you will know how injuries can happen very quickly, and have the potential to be severe, too. You may have cause to claim compensation because of what happened to you as well, as we will shortly see. Injuries caused in warehouse accidents tend to fall into some familiar categories, too.
What are some of the most common causes of warehouse accidents?
You can probably guess some of them, but we have provided you with a list here:
- Accidents involving forklift trucks – these may involve a truck toppling over if used on uneven ground, or a forklift striking another worker. They are very heavy and can crash into racking, sending the whole lot tumbling if inadequate care is taken.
- Slips, trips, and falls – yes, these can happen just as easily in a warehouse as they can elsewhere. Keeping the floor clean and free from potential hazards is vital in removing the chances of these accidents occurring. Falls may also occur from high platforms, mezzanine areas that are insufficiently protected, and stairs.
- Manual handling accidents – some workers may be tempted to lift things that are too heavy, bulky, or awkward to carry. A lack of training can increase the odds of an injury occurring, as can a lack of equipment to move things, i.e. pump trucks.
- Being struck by falling objects – this can happen in any environment, but it is included on lists of the most common accidents and injuries occurring in the workplace. In a warehouse, there is a chance of stock falling from racking if it has not been placed there properly, or if racking is overloaded. Something might also fall from a forklift if the driver failed to pick it up properly, or the load is not secured on the pallet to start with.
The dangers of forklift trucks
We have already mentioned forklifts above, but it is worth spending time focusing on them here, because they can potentially be among the most common causes of warehouse accidents. Most warehouses have several forklift trucks operating, and all drivers must be properly qualified to drive them.
While drivers can potentially be at risk of injury while using forklifts, two-thirds of accidents cause harm to people other than the driver. And since a human is no match for the weight of a forklift, there is the potential for people to receive horrific injuries, and even to lose their lives, while working with or near a forklift truck.
While drivers should be properly trained, all businesses that use these trucks should also provide ample health and safety training and awareness courses to all other employees that may encounter them. Risk management is a vital part of any business, because it helps reduce the odds of anyone being injured, whether in a major or a minor way. Complying with health and safety laws is a requirement for all businesses, and in the case of warehouse-based businesses, it can help the owners avoid the common causes of warehouse accidents.
A crucial element of assessing the risks posed by a warehouse environment is to identify the hazards that exist there. The Health and Safety Executive website contains lots of information on how to do this, and how to identify those who are most at risk from those hazards. A risk assessment should include these two steps, as well as the following steps:
- Consider the risks and evaluate the best precautions to take
- Keep a record of these findings and precautions
- Review the record regularly and make updates if they are necessary
By assessing a warehouse environment, it is easier to identify the hazards that exist there. It then becomes easier to avoid the common causes of warehouse accidents, so you can prevent them happening in your warehouse. This is something your employer should do, so if you have been hurt while working in a warehouse and you do not believe they paid proper attention to health and safety, you could have a chance to bring a claim for compensation.
The responsibilities of your employer
Your employer must protect their workers from injury and illness, and report certain incidents to the HSE, as well as recording all incidents in an accident book. Injuries occurring in a warehouse environment can be serious, and may prohibit you from working for some time, depending on their severity. You might also find you cannot get on with your life in other ways, and thus the original injury has a knock-on effect on many areas of your life.
Getting expert legal help is of paramount importance if you know first-hand some of the common causes of warehouse accidents. By calling us at Accident Advice Helpline, you can find out whether you’ve got evidence that your employer or another third party was negligent in causing your accident to occur. So, whichever injuries you were left with, and however minor or serious they are, make sure you ring our team on 0800 689 0500 now. If you wish to call from your mobile, you can ring us on 0333 500 0993 instead. Health and safety plays a vital role in keeping us all safe at work, and a warehouse environment should be no more dangerous than any other workplace if the right measures are taken to keep it safe. If you were hurt within the last three years, you still have time to find out if you could make a no-win, no-fee* claim.