Illinois has long been a transportation hub, especially among large commercial trucks. With the third highest amount of miles of interstate roads in the nation, many large trucks come through Illinois and most at some point are loading or unloading at a dock somewhere in Chicago or one of the many other cities in the state. The employees that work on these docks are at high risk for injury when loading and unloading these large trucks, often resulting in medical expenses, time lost from work and even permanent disability or death.Dangers Facing Truck Loading Dock Workers
It is estimated that 25% of injuries that occur in warehouses happen on the loading docks. Loading docks are full of possible injury hazards, usually elevated off the warehouse floor with various mechanical equipment and large trucks coming in and out of the area. These areas can be very busy and chaotic, adding to the dangers that are already present. Some of the most common hazards include:
- Slips and falls. One of the most common injuries that warehouse workers face, especially on the loading dock, are slips and falls. Not only can workers fall from the dock itself, spills from equipment such as oil and water from fork lifts or from container leaks can make the surface slippery and dangerous.
- Pallet or load tip-overs. Both loads in trucks and pallet stacks waiting to be loaded can be dangerous to workers. If these stacked loads become unstable during the trip, they can fall on top of an unsuspecting worker when they open the trailer door. Also, improperly stacked pallets can topple and injury workers on the dock as well.
- Truck backing injuries. Warehouse employees have been severely injured, even fatally, when caught between a backing truck and the dock. With no where to go, they can be crushed either between the truck and dock or under the truck.
- Forklift accidents. One of the most common places to be injured by a forklift is on a loading dock. Both those around forklifts and those driving them have many hazards to be aware of. Forklifts can back over other workers, fall off the edge of the dock, tip over or crush workers working in a trailer.
- Lifting injuries. Although back injuries can happen anywhere in a warehouse, they are even more prevalent on the loading dock. Many times workers feel rushed due to the fast pace of the loading dock atmosphere and do not use the proper safety precautions when lifting, causing back and other soft tissue injuries.
- Exposure. There are many hazards that employees can be exposed to on loading docks that can cause injury. Hazardous materials, carbon dioxide from truck/equipment exhaust and even noise pollution can all be harmful to workers.
Employers must provide a safe work environment, especially in an area as full of hazards as the truck loading dock. This includes providing the necessary safety gear, training and equipment to prevent injury. For example, OSHA requires that trucks and trailers at loading docks use chocks or restraints to prevent them from moving while being loaded and unloaded. If these restraints are not provided and an employee is injured, the injury can be blamed on the employer.
When injuries occur on the job, employers are automatically held responsible under the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Act, which does not require fault be proven to receive benefits. Illinois employers must have worker’s compensation insurance to provide medical treatment as well as cover lost wages and other expenses. Although this is guaranteed by law, there are many benefits and possible other financial avenues that an injured truck loading dock employee may be able to pursue with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.Truck Loading Dock Injury Accident Lawyers, Chicago, IL
Loading dock injuries can range from minor to fatal, creating unforeseen medical bills, loss of work and ongoing expenses for the injured worker and their families. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers are knowledgeable in OSHA laws and standards as well as other state and federal regulations that pertain to these types of injuries.
Out attorneys will investigate your truck loading dock accident and use our experts to compile your case, whether we just pursue the maximum worker’s compensation benefits or recovery from a responsible third-party (non-employer), regardless if the case goes to trial or ends in a financial settlement. Contact our Chicago truck accident attorneys now for an initial consultation that is always free to discuss your injury accident. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid when you do.
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