New Articles

Avoiding 7 Workplace Injuries Common to the Supply Chain

supply chain

Avoiding 7 Workplace Injuries Common to the Supply Chain

Keeping the supply chain operating at peak performance relies on reducing accident and injury rates. Luckily, there are some concrete steps supply chain employers and industry leaders can take to help protect employees. 

Here are the seven most common workplace injuries in the supply chain and some tips for preventing them.

1. Slips, Trips and Falls

The most common cause of workplace injuries is slips, trips and falls. An estimated 18% of nonfatal workplace injuries requiring time away from work are due to these occurrences. That’s nearly one in every five serious workplace accidents. 

In the supply chain, slips, trips and falls can be particularly dangerous since warehouses often involve working on mezzanines and shelves well over a dozen feet off the ground. Warehouses are busy places, too. If someone simply slips on a wet spot on the floor, a minor fall-related injury could quickly become serious if a passing forklift hit them or something fell on them. 

To prevent slips, trips and falls, start by ensuring everyone has the proper footwear. Supply chain employers should make sure all of their workers are wearing anti-slip footwear, whether that is boots or sneakers. Additionally, staff should have access to and training on proper fall-prevention gear. For instance, if an employee uses a boom lift, they should be trained to operate it safely and wear the right protective gear.

It is vital to ensure fall-prevention gear is available in a wide enough range of sizes, such as harnesses and helmets. People who are small or large may skip wearing crucial fall prevention gear simply because there isn’t any available in their size. Employers can avoid this risky behavior by providing plenty of sizes for safety gear.

2. Caught Between Objects

Caught-between-objects injuries occur whenever an employee is injured by getting a body part stuck or trapped between two objects. For instance, if someone is moving heavy items down a ramp and one slides against the other with their hand caught in between, that could result in a caught-between-objects injury.

Other examples include fingers getting caught in machinery or toes getting caught between objects on the floor. Similarly, a worker may get trapped between a wall and a forklift or crane, resulting in an injury. Caught-between-objects injuries can also occur due to an employee’s clothing getting caught in or on something.

Preventing caught-between-object accidents can be tricky. It requires training employees to stay highly aware of their surroundings while ensuring the proper safety precautions are in place. Many caught-between-objects injuries result from wrong-place-wrong-time situations, such as a person accidentally walking between two moving objects. So, practice and train constant situational awareness in the workplace.

Additionally, all moving equipment should have emergency stop switches of some kind and staff should know exactly how to use them. It may also help to create designated forklift lanes in warehouse aisles to reduce the likelihood of employees accidentally straying into a forklift’s path.

3. Struck by a Moving Object

Hit-by or struck-by accidents are similar to caught-between accidents but slightly different. In these cases, there is only one object involved in the accident, often a vehicle of some kind. Struck-by accidents include being hit by a forklift, truck, crane, lift or crane arm. These injuries can pose an exceptionally high fatality risk simply due to the impact caused by large moving objects.

Preventing struck-by injuries is all about communication and awareness. Poor communication is a surprisingly common risk in supply chain jobs that often goes overlooked. If employees consistently and clearly communicate about their actions, it is less likely someone will accidentally get in the way of a moving object. For instance, warning signals could be established when a worker is going to back up a forklift so others nearby know to stay back.

4. Heavy Lifting Injuries

Lifting heavy objects is often an everyday part of the job in the supply chain industry. Employees are frequently expected to lift objects weighing 50 pounds or less, but it is not unheard of for them to try lifting much more than that on the job. Unfortunately, ​​heavy lifting causes about 30% of work-related injuries.

Doing so can result in muscle injuries, broken bones and serious back injuries. Additionally, attempting to lift heavy objects can result in other types of injuries such as slips, trips, falls and caught-in-between injuries. So, preventing lifting injury situations as much as possible could result in a much safer workplace.

Reducing the likelihood of a heavy lifting accident often requires investing in the right equipment. For instance, there may be a shortage of forklifts or carts workers could use instead of trying to pick something up themselves. Automated warehouse robots could help solve this problem, as well. Additionally, encourage employees to speak up and ask for help when they are struggling to lift something.

5. Repetitive Strain Injuries

Repetitive strain injuries often occur when an employee works too much or for too long, using the same muscles or muscle groups over and over in a similar fashion. For example, a worker might develop a repetitive strain injury from lifting and placing heavy boxes for an entire shift or double shift. These injuries can be hazardous since they are often hard to spot at first but result in long recovery times.

One way to prevent repetitive strain injuries in supply chain workplaces is to raise awareness of signs of overwork and fatigue. For instance, if someone feels sick during or after an active shift, it may signal something is wrong. Any severe or prolonged muscle pain should be reported and investigated to ensure employees don’t sustain serious repetitive strain injuries on the job.

Employers can also help prevent repetitive strain injuries by setting aside time at the beginning of shifts for staff to warm up and stretch. Working in a warehouse can be a highly active job — just like a workout or playing a sport. Warming up and stretching are known to help prevent injuries in athletics and executives can use the same tactic in the workplace.

6. Forklift Accidents

Forklift accidents occur any time an employee is injured while operating a forklift or by a forklift in operation. For instance, a worker could accidentally flip over a forklift while driving, resulting in a potentially fatal injury. Similarly, an employee could be accidentally hit while a forklift backs up.

A common culprit in forklift accidents is the seatbelt. Staff who skip wearing their seatbelt while operating a forklift put themselves at a much higher risk of being seriously injured in the event of an accident. So, employers must be strict about enforcing seatbelt requirements for forklift operators.

Another common cause of forklift-related accidents and injuries is improper operation. Employees who have not been thoroughly trained to operate a forklift safely put themselves and others in danger of an accident or injury. Warehouse managers can reduce this risk by requiring safety training for everyone and maintaining strict rules about who is allowed to operate a forklift. 

7. Contact With Hazardous Materials

Contact with hazardous materials in warehousing can result in chemical burns and exposure-related illnesses. Both can be serious injuries and result in time off work and possibly a stay in the hospital. Preventing hazardous materials accidents and injuries requires diligence, but it is possible.

An excellent place to start is to understand why chemicals and hazardous materials commonly cause accidents in warehouses. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published guidelines on common compliance concerns, offering insight into this topic. For instance, accidents could be caused by containers of chemicals — particularly flammable ones — going unaccounted for on a warehouse’s property. Warehouse managers must also be careful volatile chemicals are not stored close to one another.

In addition to practicing safe chemical storage, safe materials handling training can also help prevent hazardous-materials-related injuries. Warehouse managers can protect employees by teaching safe chemical-handling procedures and going over what to do in the event of exposure. For example, everyone should know where to find the hand and eye washing station if a dangerous substance splashes them.

Improving Supply Chain Safety

Supply chain employers and industry leaders can help improve the industry as a whole by strengthening workplace safety. These injuries in supply chain jobs may be the most common, but employers can prevent them by implementing detailed and diligent safety protocols and training. Everyone can work safer and smarter with the right precautions and keep the supply chain moving at top performance.


How To Protect Yourself From Any Potential Dangers In The Construction Zone

Construction projects are quite important for maintaining and reforming our infrastructure and roadways. However, construction site workers are exposed to a high risk of accidents due to perilous working conditions. They are required to use heavy tools and machinery, work at dangerous heights, and in radioactive or hazardous environments. According to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, workplace fatalities increased by 11% between 2018 and 2019, and most of these accidents involved vehicle crashes in construction zones. If you work at a construction site and want to take the right measures to protect yourself, follow these essential steps.

Causes Of Construction Zone Accidents

Work zone accidents may be a result of drivers speeding or making sudden lane shifts while passing by the construction zone. When there are unexpected lane shifts, vehicles often swerve to avoid collisions, and this leads to more accidents near construction sites.  Large trucks are less stable which can cause them to lose balance and sway away from the road, causing cargo spills. Cargo spills and road accidents expose workers to dangerous hazards at work. According to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, there were approximately 18,000 truck accidents in construction areas, and 228 fatalities in 2018 as a result of these construction site crashes. Construction site accidents may also involve:

-Falling from heights

-Lifting heavy objects and straining the spine in the process

-Slipping when working on uneven or slippery surfaces

-Tripping over objects or cables

-Being distracted by loud noise and losing focus

-Electric shocks when handling live wires

Report As Soon As Possible

You need to report the accident to the employer as soon as it occurs. Take photos of your injury and the damage caused and show them to your employer. This can aid you in court and can help document the accident scene before the evidence is lost.

Seek Legal Assistance

Contacting a professional attorney can help you seek the compensation you deserve and protect your rights. A lawyer will provide support and guide you through the legal process after a workplace accident occurs. If you’ve been injured in a work zone accident, you deserve proper compensation for your losses and injuries. For instance, in a highway construction zone accident, the driver or trucking company should be held liable. A lawyer will negotiate on your behalf and make claims against the other party’s insurance company.

Make Sure Your Employer Is Following Health and Safety Law

Your employer should also be held responsible for the safety of their workers during construction projects. They have to take protective measures that include:

-Putting up a warning sign with bright flaggers to alarm drivers that this is a designated work zone

-Alerting drivers when there’s a lane shift near the work zone

-Placing barriers between the road and construction area

-Using lights to divert vehicles and trucks away from the work zone

-Safe-proofing the work area

-Providing safety gear

-Training employees to follow all safety procedures

If they fail to foster adequate health and safety conditions on construction sites, they should also be questioned and held liable. Work accident attorneys assist workers in recovering maximum compensation for their losses including lost wages, medical bills, physiotherapy, etc.

Wear Your Protective Gear At All Times

Workers should wear their protective gear at all times when they’re working in construction zones. Make sure your safety boots are high enough and provide the perfect grip to guard your feet. Never forget to wear a hard hat to protect your skull, as well as vests that are made of non-conducting materials. Eye and face protection should be worn all day to avoid harmful chemicals, poisonous gases, vapors, debris, loose particles, and metal from entering your eyes and causing serious injuries and infections when you’re chipping or welding materials.

Avoid Unfamiliar Tools

To reduce the chances of accidents, don’t work with equipment that you haven’t used before. If a machine isn’t working, don’t try to fix it or tamper with it. Only use the tools that you were trained to use because a single mistake can cost you a lot. If you choose to handle unfamiliar tools and something goes wrong, your employer may claim that you are the one responsible for the accident, and can refuse to offer any compensation.

Working in construction zones can be dangerous and stressful. It is of utmost importance that you avoid all potential hazards and learn how to prevent them. You also need to know your rights at work, and that you should be protected. If you keep these steps in mind and follow all safety precautions, you will be at a much lower risk of accidents and injuries.

workplace injuries

Industries With the Highest Rates of Workplace Injuries

One of the concepts that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the forefront of the public imagination is the idea of an “essential worker.” The pandemic highlighted that many professions are critical for allowing the rest of the economy and society to function properly, especially in a time of crisis. Some essential professionals like health workers and teachers were already held in high regard, but COVID-19 put a new spotlight on workers in oft-overlooked industries like grocery, elder care, and shipping and logistics.

Of course, the reason why these professions have drawn attention is the fact that workers in these fields kept working despite higher risks of virus exposure in the course of doing their jobs. Early on in the pandemic, many people were easily able to transition to working remotely, while many others saw their jobs eliminated or hours reduced as a result of COVID-19’s economic shocks. But essential workers mostly continued working in-person, all the while confronting the greater possibility of contracting COVID-19.

These varying experiences of COVID-19 across professions reflect the larger fact that every job has different levels and types of risk inherent in the work. Professions that involve manual labor or interacting with tools and machinery tend to be among the most prone to injury and illness, but no job is perfectly safe. Fortunately, however, the U.S. has seen positive trends in reducing the number and severity of work-related injuries and illnesses in recent years.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall number of cases per 100 full-time workers has been cut nearly in half over the last two decades, from 5.0 in 2003 to 2.8 in 2019. And this is part of a much longer-running trend that began with the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the early 1970s. When OSHA was created in 1971, the rate of injury and illness on the job was 11 per 100 workers, but that number has been on the decline ever since thanks to OSHA and other efforts to promote workplace safety.

Lower incidences of workplace injury and illness overall have come with a parallel reduction in the number of injuries and illnesses that inhibit the ability to work. In 2003, there were 1.5 cases per 100 workers that led to days away from work. That number dipped to 1.0 in 2011 and has remained at or below that level ever since.

Despite this progress overall, the risk profile across professions continues to vary, and the data suggest that these different risk levels are also closely correlated with income. In general, industries with lower median earnings tend to see more work-related illnesses or injuries, while industries with higher earnings tend to see fewer. This situation is likely to be exacerbated by COVID-19, as many essential professions or other jobs that have continued in-person also pay lower wages than the lower-risk white-collar jobs that were able to transition to virtual work.

To identify the industries with the highest rates of workplace injuries, researchers at Construction Coverage collected data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, including each industry’s total number of cases per 100 workers, cases resulting in missed days or job transfer/restrictions, median wage, and total employment. Industries were ranked by the total number of cases per 100 workers.

Here are the industries with the highest rates of workplace injuries.

           Total  cases (per 100 workers)
Cases with days away from work (per 100 workers)
Cases with days of job transfer/restriction (per 100 workers)
Other cases (per 100 workers)
Median annual wage
Total employment
Couriers and messengers    1      8.1 3.3 2.8 2.1 $36,890 796,660
Air transportation    2      6.5 3.7 1.5 1.2 $62,480 498,830
Wood product manufacturing    3      6.1 1.8 1.7 2.6 $34,260 406,100
Performing arts, spectator sports, and related industries    4      6.0 1.4 1.9 2.7 $37,330 519,810
Nursing and residential care facilities    5      5.9 1.7 1.8 2.4 $30,370 3,351,090
Animal production and aquaculture    6      5.6 2.1 1.3 2.1 N/A N/A
Hospitals    7      5.5 1.3 0.9 3.3 $58,210 6,094,940
Crop production    8      5.3 1.4 1.6 2.2 N/A N/A
Support activities for agriculture and forestry    9      5.2 1.8 1.5 1.9 $26,430 382,330
Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers    10      4.9 1.6 1.7 1.6 $29,830 1,311,670
Warehousing and storage    11      4.8 1.9 1.7 1.2 $36,170 1,214,230
General merchandise stores    12      4.6 1.2 1.6 1.8 $25,310 3,129,540
Fishing, hunting and trapping    13      4.6 2.3 N/A 1.5 N/A N/A
Primary metal manufacturing    14      4.4 1.2 1.5 1.7 $44,520 385,910
Beverage and tobacco product manufacturing    15      4.3 1.3 1.6 1.4 $38,680 282,110


*Incidence rates represent the number of injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Construction Coverage’s website: