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 travel through the state. Most commercial vehicles at some point are loading or unloading at a dock somewhere in Chicago or one of the many other Illinois cities. 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 hectic 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 but slip on oil and water spills from equipment and forklifts or container leaks that can make the surface dangerously slippery.
- Pallet or load tip-overs. Truckloads and pallet stacks in a queue to be loaded can be dangerous to workers. Stacked loads can become unstable during transport and fall on an unsuspecting worker when they open the trailer door. Also, improperly stacked pallets can topple and injure 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 nowhere to go, the worker can be crushed either between the truck and dock or under the commercial vehicle.
- Forklift accidents. A loading dock is one of the most common places to be injured by a forklift. Employees working around forklifts and those driving them must remain alert to common hazards. 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. Employees are exposed to the many hazards 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 Responsibility In Protecting Loading Dock Workers From Accidents
Employers must provide a safe work environment, especially in every hazardous area like the truck loading dock. The company must provide 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 the company does not provide the necessary restraints a and an employee is injured, the employer can be blamed for the worker's injury.
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 benefits guaranteed by law, additional compensations and possibly other financial avenues might be available if the injured truck loading dock employee files a lawsuit 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 unexpected medical bills, loss of work and ongoing expenses for the injured worker and their families. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are knowledgeable in OSHA laws and standards as well as other state and federal regulations that pertain to these types of injuries.
Our 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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