New York warehouse employees should be aware of the importance of warehouse safety as should their employers. The cost of injuries and deaths is high both for both. OSHA fines, damage to the company’s brand and higher workers’ compensation costs are among the expenses to employers from employee injuries. With approximately 20,000 people seriously injured and 100 killed in forklift accidents alone annually, careful attention to health and safety is essential.

Some of the other dangerous areas in distribution centers and warehouses are materials storage, docks, manual lifting and handling, and conveyors. Trips, falls and ergonomic issues are among the most common injuries.

Employers can take steps to make these areas safer. Putting up safety signs and warnings using the system devised by the International Organization for Standardization that can be understood by anyone is one step. Regular training for forklift drivers is also important. As essential as it is that new drivers be carefully trained, it is also a good idea to have experienced drivers annually review best practices since they may become careless or forget regulations over time. Employers may also wish to review and enforce racking strategies as well as rewarding employees for compliance.

Warehouse workers may wish to observe whether these types of safety standards are being observed. Whether or not they are, individuals who sustain a workplace injury may be eligible for workers’ compensation to cover expenses such as medical bills and time missed from work. Employers must not pressure or intimidate employees into not filing a claim. This intimidation may range from remarks discouraging the individual from filing for workers’ compensation to denial of promotion or even termination. However, even if an employer is supportive, after filing, people may find their claims denied. In such a case, an attorney may be helpful in providing representation during a subsequent appeals hearing.