If you are working in a warehouse or fulfillment center in Pennsylvania, you will likely know the dangers that threaten your health and safety. While forklifts and falls from loading docks are serious and sometimes fatal hazards, there are more risks of which you should be aware. Some dangers are more obvious than others are, but it might be the hidden hazards that could cause the most harm.
The hustle and bustle of a loading dock can be chaotic if the traffic flow is disorganized. Employees on foot and forklift operators must be aware of each other at all times.
Less obvious hazards in loading docks
Risks of which you are not aware can be more hazardous than known dangers. If you look out for the following hazards typical in loading docks, you might avoid serious injuries:
- The lack of PPE: Personal protective equipment serves a vital purpose of providing additional protection to body parts that are vulnerable. It is senseless to lose a body part or even a life merely because putting on PPE would waste a few minutes. You could lose days or weeks of wages if you fail to wear the necessary gloves, hard hat, eye protection, safety shoes, support braces and belts. This includes wearing a seat belt when operating a forklift.
- Dock safety: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says negligent dock safety can lead to common accidents such as forklifts driven over unmarked dock edges, loose dock plates, workers jumping off loading docks and workers potentially being struck by equipment or products.
- Unsafe lifting practices: If you have to lift and move heavy objects day after day while loading and offloading merchandise, you will be at risk of suffering life-changing back injuries if you use unsafe lifting techniques. Explore and learn safe practices to prevent chronic pain and other long-term back problems. Furthermore, it is always wise to ask for help if an object is too heavy to lift on your own.
- Slip-and-fall hazards: Wet floors in the loading dock can be slippery and become severe slip-and-fall risks. Similarly, debris and other signs of poor housekeeping can cause trip-and-fall accidents in a loading dock. Furthermore, randomly placed objects could also cause forklift accidents.
What to do after an injury
You can file a workers' compensation benefits claim after a loading dock accident and receiving the necessary medical care. However, it is essential to report the incident to your supervisor as soon as possible. There is a deadline for this and also for the claim that you can then file with the insurer for coverage of medical expenses and lost wages. If may prove valuable during this time to seek the support and guidance of a legal representative to assist with the ensuing administrative and legal procedures.