Warehouse workers may face a greater risk of job-related illnesses and injuries from the increased use of automation. Working alongside rapid-pace machines means employees need to keep up with preprogrammed robots in both speed and precision.

As reported by Time Magazine, a major online company using automation monitors and times how quickly workers pack and ship customers’ orders. Advanced technology informs employees when they have taken “too many minutes” to prepare a package. The handheld scanning devices used at the company’s warehouses act as digital managers and alert workers to how much time they have left to complete a task.

Automated demands and repetitive stress injuries

Not all workers have the physical capability to keep up with such automated demands. Employees required to make fast and repetitive motions could develop serious medical conditions over time.

Warehouse workers can experience physical stress from repetitive lifting, bending and squatting during their shifts. Long-term repeated movements can cause strain to major muscle groups and become repetitive stress injuries.

Burnout and accidents

Physical exhaustion may cause mental duress and contribute to burnout. As noted by Forbes magazine, the World Health Organization categorizes burnout in its International Classification of Diseases as a condition specifically related to the workplace. Nine European Union nations recognize burnout as an occupational disease according to a Gallop study.

Employees experiencing burnout may have a greater tendency to make mistakes and cause accidents. The Gallop research shows burnout can increase the chances of an employee visiting an emergency room by more than 20%.

Medical treatment and time off

Warehouse and manufacturing employees often ignore minor symptoms of an injury and continue working for fear of losing their jobs. By the time a work-related condition shows itself through debilitating pain or swelling, serious injury may have already occurred. Employees requiring medical treatment or who need time off to recover may apply for workers’ compensation benefits.

In Pennsylvania, employees who develop a work-related medical condition or experience an on-the-job injury have 120 days to report it and file a claim. Employers in the Keystone State must carry workers’ compensation insurance for all their eligible employees.