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Making factories and warehouses safer for workers

While workers in every industry face some safety hazards, it is well known that employees in factories and warehouses are especially at risk to injury. This is as true in North Carolina as it is anywhere else in the nation. According to OSHA, the most common warehouse accidents involve forklifts, electrical wiring, holes and gaps in the floor and power transmission components. Fires, explosions and chemical exposure, often due to improper lockout/tagout procedures, are also frequent.

There are many steps that employers can take to prevent injury. First of all, no matter how talented employees are, they should receive proper training on machine operations and behavior in the workplace. Employers should never encourage employees to rush or take shortcuts, even if that means not finishing a job on schedule. All instructions should be clear before workers begin.

Next, employers should consider machinery that not only increases productivity but also enhances safety. Industrial manipulators and other lifting devices are recommended. Ford Motor Company, for instance, saw a 70 percent decrease in assembly line injury rates after it incorporated lift assists.

Employees should also look out for each other and stop anyone who engages in risky behavior. Employers can create a “culture of accountability” by rewarding those employees who speak up in the face of safety risks.

Not all workplace accidents can be prevented, of course, but when they occur, the victims should be able to receive adequate compensation. All they have to do is report the accident to their employers and file for workers’ compensation benefits. A lawyer can bring together the medical documents and other essential paperwork in order to calculate a fair amount. If the employer’s negligence caused the accident, however, the lawyer may advise the victim to file a personal injury claim.

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