Powerful machinery, large items stacked on top of each other, heavy vehicles, slippery floors… all of these factors individually and collectively create hazardous work conditions in warehouses. Inadequate supervision, lack of adequate training, absence of warning signs and failure to provide workers with personal protective equipment, make warehouses even more hazardous to workers.
Recognising the dangers of working in a warehouse, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has put in place several legislations aimed at minimising the risks to workers employed in warehouses. These legislations put the onus of worker safety on the employer. This is called employer duty of care. Unfortunately, despite all of these legal provisions, workers continue to get injured in warehouse accidents that are caused due to employer negligence.
If you adhered to all laid down safety regulations and were still injured in a warehouse accident because of somebody else’s fault, you may be entitled to warehouse injury compensation.
Common Causes Of Accidents In Warehouses
Accidents that are more common in warehouses may include:
- Malfunctioning equipment accident;
- Falls from heights such as ladders or high shelves;
- Being hit by objects falling from height, such as containers stacked incorrectly or boxes stacked too high;
- Accidents involving heavy vehicles such as forklift trucks and container trucks;
- Exposure to toxic substances such as corrosive or poisonous chemicals;
- Wrongful handling of heavy equipment;
- Slips, trips and falls on slippery surfaces or over obstacles strewn around the place;
- Exposure to loud noises.
Common Types Of Injuries That Happen In Warehouse Accidents
Warehouse accidents can result in several different types of injuries including but not limited to:
- Manual handling injuries while moving or lifting heavy items;
- Sprains, strains, pulled muscles and torn ligaments;
- Cuts, bruises and lacerations;
- Back, neck or shoulder strain or sprain from lifting heavy items;
- Broken or fractured bones;
- Limb and joint injuries;
- Head or brain injuries;
- Spinal Cord injuries;
- Loss of eyesight;
- Repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome;
- Loss of hearing;
More often than not, injuries sustained in warehouse accident tend to be severe because of the nature of the workplace and the larger number of power and heavy equipment in one place. Many injuries are fatal.
Preventing Accidents And Injury In Warehouses
According to the law, employers are responsible for conducting a thorough risk assessment of the warehouse. This is particularly important because every warehouse is unique and may require a unique set of precautionary measures.
Depending on the results of the risk assessment, employers are legally required to put measures in place in order to minimise the risk to all warehouse workers and visitors. If the employer fails to follow the recommended safety guidelines and a worker is injured as a result, the employer is liable to pay compensation.
While the precautionary measures will differ from one warehouse to another, depending on the industry and the size of the warehouse itself, in general all employers are required to do the following:
- Ensure there is proper supervision in the workplace;
- Provide all workers with the appropriate personal protective equipment such as hard hats, safety goggles, gloves, work boots and /or weight lifting belts;
- Provide all workers with extensive training on how to use various equipment, with special emphasis on the hazards of the workplace;
- Ensure all items are stacked properly;
- Make sure there are no obstacles in the way that can cause slip, trip and fall accidents;
- Put up easily visible warning signs where appropriate.
Making A Warehouse Injury Compensation Claim
While you have a legal right to claim compensation for any warehouse injuries that were caused because of another person’s mistake or negligence, it is not always as easy as it sounds, especially if you decide to file the claim yourself. This is because all wrongful injury claims are handled by your employer’s insurance company.
Insurance companies typically hire legal experts to squash such warehouse injury claims. In a best case scenario, they will offer you a small amount as compensation in the hope that you will accept it and drop all plans to take legal action. More often than not, this amount will barely be enough to cover the cost of your medical treatment in case of a serious injury. Moreover, once you accept this out-of-court settlement, you lose all rights to claim compensation any time later.
Using A Solicitor To File Your Warehouse Injury Claim
The best way to proceed with filing a warehouse injury claim for compensation is to have an experienced personal injury solicitor represent you. Expert solicitors who frequently handle warehouse accident claims know how much you are entitled to and they will use their knowledge of the legal system to make sure that you get the full amount you are due.
Most important of all, if you have a strong case, most experienced personal injury solicitors will agree to represent you without even asking you to pay any fees upfront. Instead they will draw up an agreement that essentially states that they will help you with the entire legal process, from putting together the evidence and filing the case in court to representing you during the hearings. In our case if the court does not rule in your favour, you do not have to pay the solicitor anything for their efforts. However, if the court rules in your favour and awards you compensation, you will have to pay as a fee a percentage of the total amount of compensation awarded to you. This is known as a No Win No Fee agreement.
Signing a No Win No Fee agreement allows you to benefit from an experienced solicitor’s knowledge and skills without worrying about how you will pay any legal fees. You only pay after you have been awarded the compensation amount.
With an agreement such as this in place, you can rest assured that you will get the best legal help possible, as our solicitor and team will use all of their experience to make sure you win so they can get paid for their hard work. If they do not win the case, they do not get paid at all. For you, it is a win-win situation.