Even if many people think of dangerous jobs as belonging to police and fire first responders, as well as manufacturing and construction workers, the people who supply us with day-to-day household needs and luxuries also have surprisingly dangerous dangers.
Wholesale warehouse and retail jobs are higher on New York’s lists of dangerous jobs than you might expect, even at relatively ordinary times in the nation’s history.
Citing New York area businesses keeps OSHA busy
An article late last year reported that the Staten Island warehouse of the world’s largest online retailer had what it called a staggering rate of injuries. “Plugging the information contained in the forms into OSHA’s own incident rate calculator, [the workplace] scored a whopping 15.19 in 2018. For contrast, in 2018, sawmills scored a 6.1; steel foundries: 10.2.”
Also late last year, OSHA cited a well-known chain of discount stores for a variety of safety hazards. They included boxes and equipment blocking an exit route in a storage room, unsecured boxes stacked to the ceiling, and piles of equipment and boxes blocking access to a circuit breaker at the company’s Elmira store. OSHA writes that it “cited the retailer for similar violations at locations in Bronx, Amityville, Lindenhurst, and Yonkers in 2014 and 2015.”
It was announced in February of this year that, after an employee fall led to hospitalization, OSHA opened an investigation into conditions at an “artisan baked” cookie company. They found employees were told to get supplies stored on top of a breakroom by standing on the forks of a forklift while it lifted them. Once there, the area had no guardrails to protect them from falling.
Warehouses and retail we rely on also injure workers
Judging from the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Yorkers experienced particularly high rates of lost days from work due to injuries and illnesses at such jobs. Among the businesses with higher rates are wholesale warehousing, building material and garden equipment dealers, food and beverage stores, and general merchandise stores.
In one report from the Centers for Disease Control, the most common causes of lost days from work in wholesale and retail work included “contact with objects/equipment,” which often includes being struck by falling objects, collisions with forklifts and carts, getting trapped by machines, etc. Wholesale work also stood out for its relatively high rate of transportation injuries.
Other wholesale and retail injuries come from overexertion from lifting, pulling, etc., and falling either on the floor (“falls to the same level”) or falling to a lower level.