Warehouse Injuries: What Employers Need to Do to Keep You Safe
Warehouses are full of hazards that can cause serious injuries, from heavy machinery and slippery surfaces to overloaded roll cages and items being stacked up too high. So it’s vital that employers take steps to identify possible dangers and manage these risks appropriately.
Possible safety measures could include:
- Supervising members of staff, to make sure safety procedures and rules are followed
- Providing training to employees, so staff are aware of risks and how to deal with them
- Putting warning signs up close to known hazards, such as dangerous machinery and uneven floor surfaces
- Making sure that safe walkways and routes are marked in busy warehouses to avoid fork lift truck accidents
- Providing personal protective equipment, such as gloves, goggles and hard hats
But sadly, there are times when an avoidable accident at work does happen. If an employer was negligent and failed to keep you safe while working in a warehouse, you could claim compensation for your injuries.
Common Types of Warehouse Accidents
Warehouse injuries are often the result of:
- Heavy lifting
- Falling from height
- Being fit by falling objects, such as boxes stacked too high
- Overloaded Roll Cages
- Accidents involving defective machinery
- Being hit by a forklift truck
- Slips and trips
This type of workplace accident can lead to many different types of injury, including:
- Head and brain injuries
- Crush injuries
- Cuts and bruises
- Sprains, torn ligaments and pulled muscles
- Broken bones
- Dislocated limbs
- Spinal cord injuries
Who is Responsible for a Warehouse Injury?
Employers are responsible for providing and maintaining a safe working environment. That’s why it’s so important for them to carry out regular risk assessments and putting adequate safety measures and processes in place.
So in most cases, a claim for an accident at work will be made against them, with any compensation paid out from their Employers’ Liability Insurance.
However, we should point out that when we investigate warehouse accident claims, we often find there are several potential parties responsible. For example, in claims involving overloaded roll cages, the company that supplied the roll cage may be partly at fault.
We do see a lot of accidents where people are injured accepting overloaded or unsecured roll cages from the delivery lorry. If you’re unlucky enough to suffer such an injury, do make sure that you know details of the company that delivered the item.
Also, as well as reporting the accident to your own employer, make sure your employer reports the accident to that company and do get somebody to take photos of the situation if possible.
There are health and safety laws in place which your employer has to comply with to keep you safe in the warehouse. There is also lots of guidance and helpful work information sheets provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to help them keep you safe. So if they do fall short of their duties and they breach some of these regulations, we can point these out as part of your claim as evidence that they have been negligent and failed on this occasion to keep you safe.
Warehouse Injury Case Study
We helped a woman who often had to move and unload heavy delivery cages as part of her job as a supervisor in a retail store. While unloading a cage, it tipped and fell on to her right arm, wrist and left foot.
The cage was so heavy that it took several of her colleagues to help lift it off her and she was rushed to hospital in an ambulance. She had to have several operations and continued experiencing pain, which led to her being diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) Type 1 - a debilitating chronic pain condition.
Our client had enjoyed her job and was hoping to be promoted to assistant manager of the store. But following the injury, she wasn’t able to return to work, and was fearful for the future.
We arranged several independent medical assessments, so experts in areas such as orthopaedics, pain management and psychiatry could examine her and prepare reports on her condition. We also arranged for her to be assessed by a vocational rehabilitation specialist, so she could get advice and help with her future career options.
We approached her employer, arguing they were negligent as the roll cage had been overloaded to twice its normal weight. Thankfully, they accepted responsibility for her accident at work, which meant the case wouldn’t have to be settled in Court.
With the help of the evidence we had gathered, we estimated how much compensation she should claim, and began negotiating with the other party for a final settlement.
A compensation settlement of £154,600 was agreed at a Joint Settlement Meeting, one of the first to be carried out in the early stages of the Covid-19 lockdown. This meant she avoided the stress of being cross-examined in a Trial, and now has the means to get all the care, support and rehabilitation she needs without worrying about what it will cost.
The Health and Safety Executive has clear guidance on how to safely use a roll cage. For example:
- Items should not be loaded above the load line or above where they can see over the load
- Heavier items should be stacked at the bottom
- Roll cages should move no faster than walking speed
- Cages should be pushed rather pulled
- Only one cage should be moved at a time
This case was a clear example of how best practice wasn’t followed, and our client paid a devastating price for it, including chronic pain, psychological problems and being unable to work. So it was only right that she got the support she needed to live with these consequences, and we’re proud to have helped her get the outcome she deserved.
If you’ve been injured in a manual handling accident in a warehouse and believe your employer was negligent, we’re here for you. Contact our Serious Injury Solicitors so we can discuss what happened and how we can help you.
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