Warehouse employment has risen 90% since the year 2000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The reason, of course, is e-commerce. With this sudden surge in online business, many distributors are eager to tap into the profit stream.
Whenever there is an industry boom, we learn invaluable lessons about humanity. One thing we learned from the Industrial Revolution and the Great Depression is that the American Dream is not just the securing of employment, but employment that protects it's workers health and safety.
Today, the United States has several checks and balances in place to ensure that American workers are protected in the workplace. Here are three:
- OSHA: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was signed into law in 1970. Operating under the U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA assures safe and healthy working conditions by setting and enforcing standards in the workplace.
- FLSA: The Fair Labor Standards Act, signed into law by Franklin Roosevelt in 1938, ensures a federal minimum wage, overtime pay, pay for all hours worked and child labor regulations.
- Judicial system: When the checks and balances above fail, and a worker is injured due to the negligence of their employer, the judicial system stands ready hear the case and award any possible compensation for pain and suffering.
Although these protections are in place, warehouse workers today face many health and safety hazards as they're pushed to meet industry demands.
Top warehouse hazards
Moving about a warehouse is dangerous. Often times, shelves are stacked high, by employees who are pressed for time, heavy equipment is moving in every direction and packages need to be prepared while a clock seems to be ticking at twice the normal speed.
Here are a few common warehouse accidents:
- Forklift accidents
- Struck by falling objects
- Ergonomic strain
- Slips, trips and falls
- Shelving collapse
- Exposure to hazardous materials
While many of these accidents could be deadly, it is more common that workers are left with life-altering injuries that can impact their ability to function normally at work and at home.
Injured warehouse workers are protected in many ways, but winning a workers compensation case is highly dependent on the injured party's preparedness and defense.