Falls both from heights and from the same level are among the leading causes of workplace deaths and serious injuries. According to OSHA, 20 percent of deaths and injuries resulting in lost work days occur because of falls. This translates to 345 deaths and 202,066 injuries to workers throughout the country. Warehouse and distribution center employers can take a variety of steps to keep their workers safe from falls.
One idea may be to introduce elevated platform solutions to a facility. Industrial mezzanines must have a guardrail and gates, but the gates may need to be opened from time to time. To reduce the odds of a fall when the gates are open, dual reciprocating barriers may be ideal. They have both an inner gate and an outer gate that cannot be opened at the same time. Both manual and automatic barriers are relatively easy for workers to use.
Barriers should also be put into place near vacant dock doors. Advanced barriers are made from PVC-coated fiberglass mesh and can withstand up to 30,000 pounds of force. When placed near a loading dock, they may prevent falls on foot or while on a forklift. The use of multi-level pick modules may also be helpful when fulfilling orders. Newer systems can be built to conform to smaller work areas, and they are generally compliant with OSHA regulations.
Despite adherence to current safety protocols, workplace injuries will continue to take place. Most employees are covered by their employer's workers' compensation insurance, and an attorney can often help an injured worker apply for the applicable benefits.