The warehouse-storage and distribution industry is one of the most dangerous workplaces. In fact, in Pennsylvania, the warehouse-storage industry has a higher than average injury rate, actually double the overall work injury rate. The warehouse-storage industry has an 8.1 injury rate (8.2 work accidents per every 100 full time workers), and Pennsylvania’s overall work accident injury rate is 4.1. Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Work Injury Report 2012 (Pennsylvania)
Warehouse and distribution center workers face many work related dangers. Distribution centers are notorious for all sorts of work accidents, such as:
- fall down accidents,
- industrial machinery accidents, and
- forklift accidents.
The federal government’s work accident investigation bureau, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is conducting an investigation of two fatal work accidents involving one of the largest warehouse-distribution employers in the Pennsylvania-New Jersey area, Amazon.
The first death sparking the investigation occurred last year when a NJ man was crushed by a conveyor system. The worker was sorting boxes at a warehouse in New Jersey. As a result of that investigation, 5 companies, including a third party logistics company and temping agencies, were cited. According to OSHA, the companies failed to conduct a hazard assessment. Source: pennlive.com, OSHA cites five companies after Amazon warehouse death in New Jersey
More recently, a Pennsylvania woman was killed at a warehouse in Carlisle. She suffered a fatal crush injury when the pallet pump she was operating caused shelves to topple. Click here to learn more about this recent work accident.
Legal Rights for Workers Injured in Warehouse-Distribution Facility Accidents
Workers’ Compensation Claims in Warehouse Work Accident Cases
For many workers, a workers’ compensation claim will be the sole source of benefits after a work accident in Pennsylvania. However, the drawback of the workers’ compensation scheme is that no benefits are provided for the worker’s pain and suffering. Instead, workers’ compensation provides for medical treatment and indemnity (wage loss payments), at only a certain percent of the worker’s average weekly wage. Visit our Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law Library.
Other Claims in Warehouse Work Accident Cases
What many injured warehouse workers do not know is that they may have valid legal claims against other, non-employer parties. For example, in these recent warehouse accidents, the pallet pump manufacturer may be liable for a defective product, or a sorting vendor may be liable for negligent maintenance work which caused a malfunction.
These types of claims must be evaluated properly and in a timely manner. The mechanism of injury, the thing which caused the accident, must be tested in order to determine if it in deed contributed to the accident. This often requires expert help from a mechanical/industrial engineer.
Damages Available in Civil (Tort) Warehouse Work Accident Cases
Civil lawsuits often result in financial recovery for injured workers. This is in addition to, or on top of, the workers’ compensation benefits. Financial compensation pays for medical bills, lost wages, other economic losses and pain and suffering.
Warehouse Work Accident Lawyers
Our lawyers are licensed in multiple states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey. If you were injured in a warehouse accident and want to know if you have a viable case, please call our office for a free case assessment. Click To Call
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