New Jersey warehouse workers may face serious dangers on the job. While brick-and-mortar retail may face challenges, the warehouse sector continues to grow, change and expand. One company, Amazon, runs over 150 million square feet of warehouses internationally, and it has been criticized for health and safety practices. However, Amazon is not alone. As more companies focus on shipping and fulfilling digital orders, warehouses are becoming central to the e-commerce economy. At the same time that warehouses are central to successful online sales, they are also being targeted for technical changes themselves. Workers interact with more robots, computers and tracking devices throughout their shifts in a warehouse or fulfillment center.
Between 2015 and 2017, the fatality rate for warehouse workers due to on-the-job accidents doubled; while 11 workers lost their lives in 2015, 22 did two years later. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 5.1 out of every 100 full-time warehouse employees suffer workplace injuries, a similar rate of injuries as farming. Experts note that warehouse workers are interacting more frequently with automated equipment, some of which is heavy and motorized. Autonomous forklifts have become a major part of many distribution centers. Safety rules, however, may not yet be updated to fully catch up with changes.
In addition, many warehouse companies may attempt to increase their profit margins by cutting down on labor expenses. Fewer workers may be pushed to complete more tasks even more quickly than they already do, making injuries more likely. Production managers may also be tasked with safety oversight, even though they may not have time to manage both effectively.
Injuries can seriously hinder or even shut down a warehouse worker’s career. Workers who have been injured on the job might want to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney about how they may protect their rights and seek the compensation they deserve.