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Workplace safety is vital in the warehousing industry

While much attention is paid to the health and safety of workers in the industrial and construction industries, the protection of workers in distribution centers and warehouses must not be disregarded. It was reported that certain activities, such as manual lifting, handling and storage of materials, and operating forklifts, and certain areas, including conveyors and docks, are typically neglected in warehouses. Many Missouri families have had to cope with the consequences of accidents that resulted from inadequate workplace safety programs.

The three most reported warehouse accidents are those caused by forklift accidents, ergonomics and falls caused by slips or trips. Forklift-related accidents reportedly cause serious injuries to as many as 20,000 workers annually. This number includes approximately 100 fatalities each year. These numbers underscore the importance of proper training of forklift operators.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes safety regulations that are unique to this industry, and compliance can prevent many workplace injuries and deaths. Although evaluating and addressing safety hazards put a huge responsibility on the shoulders of warehouse owners, failure to consider it as a top priority is unacceptable. Preventable injuries and deaths are typically devastating to injured workers and grieving loved ones, and it can also be detrimental to company profits.

Most Missouri workers rely on their employers to provide safe workplace environments. Unfortunately, more attention is sometimes paid to profits than to workplace safety. Workers who have suffered injuries in workplace accidents -- and families who have lost loved ones in such circumstances -- may pursue compensation through the workers' compensation system. The typical compensation for medical expenses and/or end-of-life costs, along with lost income, may provide some level of financial relief.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Business Owners Must Give Thought to Warehouse Safety", Larry Alton, Oct. 30, 2015

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