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Protecting against warehouse accidents

As North Carolina owners of warehouses or distribution centers know, workplace accidents may result in injuries to employees and fines by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Using appropriate safety techniques and training methods to protect workers creates a better work environment and reduces accidents.

According to statistics, accidents involving forklifts kill an average of 100 employees each year, with 25 percent of the fatalities caused by an overturning forklift. Around 20,000 injuries due to forklift accidents occur on an annual basis as well. Although deaths and accidents have been significantly reduced since OSHA's creation in 1970, accidents in warehouses still remain higher than national industry levels.

Annual training for forklift operators may not be required by OSHA, but imposing a probationary period on new operators during which they work with other drivers might be helpful. Designated lanes and rules for driving a forklift may help prevent accidents. In addition, racking is an important area to monitor for safety. Deciding on an alert system for problems in racking is important to avoid accidents.

Some citations issued by OSHA regarding unsafe working conditions include methods of electrical wiring, forklifts, exits, lockouts, portable equipment to deal with small fires and appropriate protection for wall and floor openings. One way to potentially improve safety may be for businesses to offer awards and incentives to follow safety procedures in the work environment. By making a competition out of following safety procedures, employees may take a personal interest in improving the safety of their workplaces.

Despite all safety precautions, workplace accidents will continue to occur. A person who has been injured on the job may want to have the assistance of an attorney in filing a claim for benefits under the employer's workers' compensation insurance coverage.

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