The Six Common Warehouse Work Injuries We See

South Central Pennsylvania is one of the fastest booming areas in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, especially in warehouses.  In fact, several of the counties that we serve are listed among the Top 15 in Pennsylvania for population growth from 2010 to 2014.  Those counties are:  Cumberland (1st), Lancaster (4th), Franklin (6th), and Dauphin (15th).  That leads to jobs, but also to common warehouse injuries.

Warehouse Injury
Common warehouse injuries in Pennsylvania

Warehousing Growth in Central Pennsylvania

A large part of the growth that has occurred in Central Pennsylvania can be directly attributed to the warehousing and manufacturing development along the interstate 81 Corridor, from Greencastle, PA up through Dauphin County.  We’ve seen a recent boom, such as the development of Food Lion Distribution and World Kitchen in Greencastle, Chambersburg area warehouse development,  which includes, Target, Ulta, K Mart, and Staples, new warehouses in Shippensburg, which includes, Procter & Gamble and Georgia Pacific, newer warehouses in Carlisle, which includes, Giant Foods, Ross Distribution, AMES distribution, Office Depot, Ryder, Amazon,  OHL, and Lindt Chocolate.  Those are just a few. These warehouse operations employ many people through South Central Pennsylvania.  Additionally, there is more warehousing growth set for Carlisle (Exit 44 off I-81) and Shippensburg (Exit 24 and 29 off I-81).   

These warehousing operations have also been a major factor in low unemployment rates in Central Pennsylvania counties.  Here those are as of March 2016:  Adams (4.0), Cumberland (4.0), Dauphin (4.7), Franklin (5.1), Lancaster (4.2), and York (4.7).

Warehousing Injuries

With warehousing/distribution types of development come and increase in work injuries.  More people working and population growth alone will lead more work injuries.  However, these types of employers many times cut corners on safety, stress quick paced work and apply pressure for workers to maintain fast-paced activity,   or ignore hazards which lead to unnecessary and often devastating work injuries.

Six Common Warehouse Injuries

There are six common work injuries that we see in our case load with warehousing type operations.

First, we see forklift accidents.  These can be due to poor training, unsafe operation by users, crowded facilities, or just freak accidents.  They can result in pretty devastating accidents, even including fatal claims.

Second, we see overexertion injuries.  These are usually lifting type injuries which can cause injuries to the cervical (neck) spine, lumbar (low back), and shoulder areas.  These injuries can also include hernia and complications from thereon.  Another frequent injury we see here are rotator cuff tears and labrum tears in the shoulders.  Again, these type injuries can be caused by poor training, failing to follow proper procedures, trying to maintain pace requirements, and lack of appropriate number of employees.

Third, we see Repetitive Stress injuries.  These type of injuries occur because of highly repetitive activities at work, especially on selector type positions.  Familiar type repetitive trauma injuries are:  carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, DeQuervain’s syndrome (wrist), Epicondylitis, thumb injuries, ganglion cysts, tenosynovitis, thoracic outlet syndrome, pain in the neck, and pain in the shoulder.  These are all common type of injuries from repetitive stress.

Fourth, we see workers hit by falling objects.  These type of injuries are usually due to unsafe conditions at work, carelessness, poor operations setup, and human error.  These usually occur with issues of stacking that cause objects to fall and hit workers.  We see neck injuries, which are usually cervical disc herniations, concussions, shoulder injuries, such as rotator cuff tears, and back injuries, which many times can include lumbar disc herniations.

Fifth, we see slip and falls.  These type of injuries go beyond slipping and falling in parking lots or between buildings on ice and snow, although we see many.   These can include slip and falls within the distribution centers and frequently occur when residue, grease, card board, paper, or cords are lying in traveling areas and create falling hazards.  As you can imagine, these injuries can vary from neck, back, and shoulder injuries to frequent knee type injuries, including meniscus tears, ligament tears, strains, hyperextensions, and more.  Many times these type of injuries are easily preventable by proper procedures, cleanup, and removal of safety hazards.

Sixth, we see loading dock type of injuries.  These often go hand in hand with overexertion because they occur on loading docks.  Often times these may intermingle with forklift injuries, lifting type injuries, etc… we also see falls of the back of trucks or shoulder injuries from tight or non-functioning cables.

Final word on temporary labor

Many of these warehouse/distribution type centers are fully functional with nearly all temporary staff and just a few actual company employees or many employees begin employment, at least for the first 90 days, with a temporary agency.  These temporary agencies often have locations right on site at these warehouses.

The first, and most important thing to remember is, even though you may be an employee of the temporary agency, you are still covered by workers compensation.  Second, what’s important with temporary employment is for an injured worker to report the injury to both, the immediate supervisor at the warehouse AND to the temporary agency in which they are employed.  The temporary agency is the actual employer, not the warehouse.   Third, it is important to remember, it does not matter how many days or weeks you’ve worked at that job, if you are hurt on the job, you are hurt on the job, period.

Fact is, injuries at work are on the rise in South Central Pennsylvania because of population growth and the growth in warehousing and distribution center development.  Workers’ compensation is a very complex area of law that relies on very specific deadlines and revolves around medical evidence.

It is easy to say, I will handle this on my own.  Do so at your own risk.  I’ve seen too many people come to my office and want to file a claim or need assistance, but there handling of their injury on their own inflicted much damage on their case.    Even more so, why would you go it alone?  You can meet with me at any one of our thirteen convenient offices through South Central Pennsylvania for a FREE CONSULTATION!  It costs you nothing to come and discuss your case.  Insurance carrier attorneys have likely reviewed your case.  Shouldn’t you have your own attorney protecting your case, rights, and benefits?  We handle workers’ compensation cases from start to finish, including full litigation, protecting your benefits from employer petitions, and negotiating, fair, reasonable settlements for our clients.  Additionally, as a way to say THANK YOU to those that served in our military, Mooney & Associates offers a discounted Workers Compensation fee.  We appreciate your commitment to this great nation.

Call today to schedule a FREE consultation for our work injury.  Call us at 717-200-HURT or 1-877-632-4656.

Mark Buterbaugh

Attorney representing injured workers and Social Security Disability clients in Pennsylvania and Maryland.