Portland Warehouse Accident Attorney
Warehouse owners and managers have a responsibility to provide a reasonably safe work environment for employees. Slippery floors, inadequate floor coverings, lack of safe lifting equipment and protocols, and improperly constructed scaffolds are just a few of the hazards that could lead to severe accidents.
When a Portland warehouse employee is injured at work, they could be eligible to claim workers’ compensation benefits. Most employers in Oregon carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover employees’ medical expenses and a portion of lost income, regardless of who is to blame for the accident.
Workers’ compensation claims can be difficult to navigate, and getting the full benefits you need and deserve can be a challenge. An experienced and dedicated Portland workers’ compensation attorney can help you understand your legal options, explain the claims process, and pursue a positive outcome for you, no matter how complex your claim is.
The worker’s compensation attorney at Jodie Anne Phillips Polich, P.C., is ready to help you if you’ve been injured at work. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your situation and your options.
Common Warehouse Accident Scenarios
Some of the most the common causes of warehouse accidents include:
- Forklift-related accidents – In a single recent year, 79 work-related deaths and 8,140 non-fatal injuries involved forklifts, according to the National Safety Council. Forklift accidents are often serious because of the size and weight of the machinery involved.
- Falling objects – Businesses often try to optimize space, but when the products and equipment are improperly stored and secured or shelves are poorly constructed, it can result in falling objects and significant injury.
- Scaffolding accidents – To reach high shelves, the warehouse owners or managers may have a scaffold constructed. These are temporary structures. Failure to build them properly or implement safety features such as guardrails can result in severe accidents. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 60 deaths and 4,500 injuries occur every year on scaffolding.
- Falling from a ladder or other high place – Falls from ladders are a common hazard for workers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among workers in general, about 20 percent of fall injuries involve ladders, while among construction workers, about 80 percent of fall injuries treated in hospital ERs involve a ladder.
- Electrocution – Overloading equipment, inadequate wiring, and improperly installed electrical equipment can lead to an electrocution injury.
- Fires and explosions – Warehouse explosions and fires may result from poorly maintained pipelines or electrical equipment. One carelessly tossed cigarette can lead to an explosion and fire.
- Wet or slippery floors – According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), slips, trips, and falls cause 15 percent of accidental deaths. When liquids are not cleaned up, and warning signs are not placed on wet floors, it increases the risk of a slip-and-fall injury. Unsafe floor coverings can also present a fall risk.
- Truck lift gate accidents – A lift-gate on the back of trucks may be defective by design, due to the manufacturing process, or as a result of poor maintenance. When the liftgate is faulty, it can cause significant physical injuries, such as a crush injury, skull fracture, or amputation.
- Improper pallet storage – Pallets are an essential part of most warehouses. However, when a pallet rack is not stowed correctly, it can collapse onto an employee.
- Improperly secured dock plates – Loading dock plates make the job easier by helping move products in the warehouse. However, failure to properly secure the dock plates can lead to a fall hazard, tripping hazard, or even a forklift accident.
- Overhead door accidents – When an overhead door is defective or improperly maintained, it could trap an employee or fall on an employee and pose a crash hazard.
- Delivery accidents – During delivery of equipment or loaded pallets, warehouse workers are at risk of sustaining an injury from moving vehicles or falling products.
Common Injuries That Arise From Warehouse Accidents
- Some of the most common warehouse accident injuries include:
- Head injuries
- Eye injury or blindness
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Blunt force trauma
- Severed limbs
Common Warehouse Safety Violations
Warehouse accidents are sometimes the result of safety violations on the part of employers or even coworkers. Safety violations by coworkers may be the result of poor training on the equipment used or lack of safety protocols in place.
Here are some of the common safety violations that can result in injuries:
- Unsafe forklifts – Forklift drivers must be adequately trained and also know the warning signs of hazardous operations. Employers should also be compliant with the safe maintenance of their equipment.
- Improper hazard communication – Proper communication around hazardous chemicals and equipment can reduce the risk of accidents.
- Unsafe electrical and wiring methods – OSHA helps educate employees and warehouse owners on electrical safety principles. Hazards can include electrocution from improper wiring or from failure to ground electrical systems.
- Improper guarding of floor and wall openings – Guarding can protect employees from falling through gaps in the floor or the wall. For example, every wall opening from which there is a drop exceeding four feet must be guarded by a half door, picket fence, or equivalent barrier.
- Unsafe exits – Exits to the building must accommodate warehouse workers in case of a fire or other emergency in which the employees must evacuate.
- Improper mechanical power transmission – These types of devices transfer power from a motor to a machine and often involve a belt running from a moving pulley. The gears, chains, and other moving parts can easily catch fingers, clothing, or hair, resulting in a severe injury.
- Lack of respiratory protection – You need proper respiratory equipment to protect your lungs from injury when you work with dangerous chemicals or toxins.
- Failing to lockout and tagout – These procedures disable mechanical equipment so they don’t engage accidentally. In one recent year, failure to lockout/tagout accounted for one of the highest numbers of violations from OSHA. It resulted in an estimated 120 deaths and 50,000 injuries.
- Lack of portable fire extinguishers – Small fires can easily become big fires when they aren’t addressed quickly. The simple strategy of having portable fire extinguishers handy and training employees on how to use them can reduce the risk of physical injuries.
Get Help from a Portland Warehouse Accident Lawyer Now
If you were injured in a warehouse accident in Portland, contact Jodie Anne Phillips Polich, P.C., right away. Our knowledgeable workplace accident lawyer will be ready to discuss your accident and advise you about your rights and legal options.
Our consultations are always 100% free and confidential. Contact us now and let us help you, our team is here to guide you.