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Department of Labor (DOL) Announces Program Focused on Improving Worker Safety in Warehouses and Distribution Centers

On July 13th, 2023, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is implementing a new multi-year workplace safety program that is focused on improving workplace safety in warehouses and distribution centers. In this article, our Phoenix workers’ compensation attorney provides an overview of the program and highlights the steps that you should take if you were hurt on the job while working at a warehouse in Arizona. 

There are Nearly 2 Million Warehouse Workers Nationwide—and Injuries are a Problem

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly two million people work in warehouses and distribution centers nationwide. Unfortunately, workplace safety is a serious issue in the warehouse industry. From relatively minor cuts and bruises to severe musculoskeletal disorders, workers face some significant risks. Warehouses are often fast-paced workplace environments. In too many cases, safety protocols are overlooked. 

DOL Unveils Three-Year Program to Improve Warehouse Safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will oversee a new national emphasis program that is aimed at enhancing workplace safety in warehouses, processing facilities, distribution centers, and other “high-risk” retail establishments. It is a three-year program that is designed to respond to the problem that there is a higher rate of injury and illness in this industry. Notably, the program requires state regulators, including Arizona, to adopt federal measures or establish an equally effective alternative. Here are some of the key elements of the three-year workplace safety program: 

  1. OSHA will conduct more comprehensive safety inspections of warehouses; 
  2. OSHA will put an emphasis safety in storage and loading areas; and
  3. OSHA will focus on ensuring that warehouse workplaces have proper fire safety standards. 

Know Your Rights: Steps to Take If Injured While Working in a Warehouse in Arizona

A work injury can put a significant strain on a worker and their family. It is crucial that you know what to do to protect your rights and secure the maximum benefits. Here are four key steps that you should take if you were injured while working at a warehouse or distribution center in Arizona: 

  • Seek Immediate Medical Attention for Any Injuries: Your health is paramount. Warehouse workers in Arizona have the right to get medical care for any workplace injuries. If you are hurt on the job, your first step should always be to seek medical attention immediately. Not only does this prioritize your well-being, but it also provides a formal record of the injury and the necessary treatments. Make sure to inform the healthcare provider that your injury occurred at work. 
  • Notify Your Employer of the Accident/Injury: As soon as you are able, report the incident to your supervisor or manager. Arizona workers’ comp law requires people injured on the job to notify their employer in a timely manner. Your employer must be made aware of the accident for you to successfully file a workers’ compensation claim. This report should be in writing and include details of the incident, such as the date, time, circumstances, and nature of the injury. Keep a copy of this report as it can serve as crucial evidence for your claim.
  • File for Workers’ Comp Benefits: In Arizona, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning you can receive benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident. To initiate the process, you need to file a claim with the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) within one year of your injury. The claim can be filed either by you or by your doctor. Be sure to include all the necessary documentation along with your workers’ comp claim. 
  • Be Ready to Consult With a Workers’ Comp Attorney: Workers’ comp claims are complicated. You do not have to take on the process alone. If you have any questions about the process or if your workers’ comp claim is denied, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Phoenix, AZ workers’ comp lawyer for immediate help.

Get Help From a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Phoenix 

At Snow, Carpio and Weekley, PLC, our Arizona work injury attorney is focused on helping people secure the maximum available benefits. If you have any questions about a workers’ comp claim, we can help. Get in touch with us by phone at (877) 370-5788 or send us a message for a free, no commitment review of your case. Our law firm represents injured workers throughout Arizona, including in Maricopa County, Pima County, Pinal County, Yavapai County, and Mohave County.

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