Certain industries in New York and elsewhere possess a certain level of dangers for those working in it. Whether it is due to the environment a worker is in or the equipment or materials an employee is working with, it is important that both employers and employees are aware of these risks. Additionally, appropriate training and safety gear should be provided. The failure to do so could result in a serious or even fatal injury to a worker.
Training to avoid injuries
When potential risks are present in a work environment, training is provided by employers. With regards to material handling, training is often focused on ensuring the safe operation of a forklift or a powered industrial truck. This often means aiding workers with recognizing safe clearances, safely navigating turns, securing loads and being attentive of pedestrians. While this training can help avoid serious injuries, it unfortunately doesn’t always address ways to avoid the most common injuries suffered by material handlers.
Material handling injuries
The top five most common injuries suffered by material handlers will be discussed. The first is sprains and strains, which is the most common. Based on current statistics, roughly 40% of the 295,180 sprains and strain injuries reported in 2019 were experienced by material handlers. This frequently happens when inappropriate lifting methods are used or one person lifts something that is too heavy.
The next is slips, trips and falls. These are frequently caused by spilled liquids, uneven floor surfaces, packing materials, strapping and debris in the work environment. The third most common injury experienced is cuts and punctures. Roughly 200 material handlers suffer a reportable cut injury each day. The next type of injury is inflammation and fractures. These could be the result of a forklift overturning, colliding with an object or being caught in a moving part, such as a conveyor belt.
The fifth and final type of injury are those caused by extreme temperatures. This contributes to roughly 17,000 exposure injuries and illnesses each year. Hot temperatures cause heat exhaustion and cold temperatures cause hypothermia and frostbite. Both could result in the inability to make decisions, remain coordinated and properly use their body.
Compensation for workplace injuries
A workplace injury could be a significant event in an individual’s life. It could easily impact one’s physical, mental and emotional health. As a result, an employee may require medical attention and continued treatment. This not only causes time away from work but could also produce financial losses due to medical bills and lost wages. Thus, it is important that one considers workers’ compensation benefits. By gaining a better understanding of these benefits, how to apply for them and what to do if one is initially denied these benefits, an injured employee is in a good position to take action and protect their rights.