Common Warehouse Injuries
By Raphael Patino ATC, LAT
What are Common Warehouse Injuries?
The most common warehouse injuries include:
- Forklift Injuries
- Overexertion or Overuse Injuries
- Falling Objects
- Slip & Trip Injuries
Warehouses can be potentially dangerous locations to work, and there are quite a few ways that an employee can be injured on the job. Every year about 5% of warehouse workers will experience a work-related injury. The vast majority of these injuries can be prevented with some preventative actions and extra care when operating around machinery.
Common Warehouse Injuries with Forklifts
These accidents involving forklifts may result from them overturning and crushing workers or dropping pallets or heavy objects during loading and unloading. Warehouse workers can be run over by forklifts, fall between a forklift and a rail on a loading dock or fall off a pallet that has been elevated by a forklift. Some examples of injuries that can occur due to forklift accidents would be:
- fractures of long bones
- traumatic brain injuries
- muscle strains
- ligament sprains
Overexertion or Overuse Injuries
Overexertion and Overuse are the leading causes of injuries at warehouses. Overuse injuries occur because of highly repetitive activities at work. Overexertion injuries typically stem from workers having to spend long hours lifting and moving heavy objects. Often performing tasks in unconventional positions puts an increased amount of stress on the body. These injuries are typically due to an under-training of workers on proper lifting technique or asking workers to lift things that are above their physical capacity.
The most common injuries cause by Overexertion and Overuse include:
- Labral tears
- Nerve injuries
- Muscle strains
- Injuries to the neck
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tendonitis or tendon tears
- Spinal injuries including bulging discs
Injuries that are caused by falling objects typically are due to workers being careless, generally unsafe work conditions, a failure to follow proper safety protocols or simple mistakes. Being hit with an object can result in head or neck injuries, traumatic brain injuries, shoulder injuries including labral tears and rotor cuff tears or back injuries like muscle strains or bulging discs.
Slip & Trip Injuries
Slips and trips type injuries are less common than overexertion/overuse injuries in warehouses but nonetheless they amount to a significant amount of workplace injuries.
Some of the most common causes for slips and trips are:
- Wet or slick conditions such as ice, oil slicked floors or water
- Inappropriate footwear
- Uneven surfaces like grass or sand
- Unseen thresholds or steps
- Rugs or carpeting that are not flat
- Exposed or loose cables
How to Be Safe in a Warehouse Environment
Safety of a warehouse working environment is the responsibility of all staff members from the top down. Everyone on staff can mitigate injuries by ensuring they are educating themselves and others on identifying potential hazards and utilizing safety protocols. Preventative action is the key to an effective safety protocol for any facility.
A simple and easy solution to decrease overuse injuries is to implement a rotating station plan. This is so no one employee is doing the same repetitive motion to the point of causing a potential musculoskeletal injury. Also, this will lead to a more well-trained staff that can be efficient and cover any position, allowing for a smoother workflow. Another very simple solution to mitigate the amount of overexertion and overuse injuries would be to have an early detection system in place when you as the employee can speak to a supervisor and be moved to a different station that is within your capabilities while your ailment subsides.
Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute
Depending on the type of injury that you have experienced there are many treatments that JOI can utilize to assist you in your road to recovery. For most all injuries we recommend trying conservative treatments. Some examples are the R.I.C.E method and physical therapy where a trained and licensed clinician can help guide you through recovery. These include tailored exercises and interventions chosen specifically to meet your needs. Also, JOI can assist with educating and guiding you through the surgical options for larger injuries (i.e. fractures, torn tendons or ligaments). To schedule for physical therapy at one of the 12 JOI Rehab Centers, please call 904-858-7045.
Call 904-JOI-2000, book online, or click the appointment button below to see one of our orthopedic physicians.