Nearly five out of every 100 warehouse workers are injured on the job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is trying to reduce that number by launching a new regional focus program for warehousing operations in Pennsylvania, Delaware, the District of Columbia and West Virginia.
“The rate of injury-related illness among warehousing employers is about double that of all other private sectors,” said Adam Hamrick, deputy regional director for OSHA in Allentown.
“We think that’s an area we need to focus on,” Hamrick said. “E-commerce has grown tremendously – also here in the Lehigh Valley.”
The program has a 90-day outreach portion to work on education efforts with employers before OSHA begins a targeted enforcement initiative.
The program lasts for five years, unless extended.
“We will be conducting inspections in the warehousing industry, focusing on hazards such as forklifts and lockout/tagout,” Hamrick said. “These will be full inspections.”
One of the region’s largest employers, Amazon, told 69 News in part: “We’ve invested billions of dollars in new operations security measures, technology and other innovative solutions that protect our employees. We have expanded our global occupational health and safety team to more than 8,000 employees around the world who use Amazon innovation, technology and data to keep our employees safe.”
Three of the company’s employees died last month at three separate New Jersey facilities.
If you are an employer and would like more information during the awareness period, you can contact the Allentown OSHA office directly at 267-429-7542 or the 24-hour OSHA hotline at 1-800-321-6742.