Lead Forensics

New U.S legislation aims to make warehouses safer

Research conducted by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) in New York State revealed that 1 in 11 warehouse workers suffered injuries that required medical attention. In response to this alarming trend, Senator Jessica Ramos sponsored the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act, which aims to mitigate work-related injuries by enhancing working conditions and prioritizing health and safety.

The NELP study did not focus on Amazon, which owns some of the largest warehouses in New York State, but a 2023 report by the University of Illinois found that 41% of Amazon workers reported injuries.

The incidence of work-related injuries among warehouse employees in New York State has doubled since 2017, with many workers taking time off to recuperate. Warehouse staff are often compelled to perform repetitive manual handling tasks like lifting heavy packages or bending and twisting their bodies to access order items. This can result in musculoskeletal disorders.

Warehouses equipped with robots or automated machinery face safety concerns when these devices share space with humans who operate manual handling equipment such as picking and box trolleys.

Senator Ross’s proposed legislation includes provisions for improving health and safety training programs, setting safety standards, establishing workplace health and safety committees and enhancing medical care facilities within warehouses.

In the United Kingdom (UK), the Warehousing Health and Safety Forum collaborates with trade unions and trade associations to develop safety guidelines for warehouse operators and their staff in conjunction with the Health & Safety Executive. These guidelines are published on the Health and Safety Executive’s website.

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