Grocery stores and their associated distribution centers are a major employer in Charleston and throughout the state. According to South Carolina state law, these employers are required to maintain safe work locations. While failing to do so can result in a state investigation, unsafe conditions could more importantly lead to workers suffering on-the-job injuries.
There are laws in place to maintain workplace safety in Charleston grocery stores and distribution centers, including workers’ compensation laws that require employees to hold insurance policies that cover injury claims. Employees of these companies may benefit from understanding their rights under the law, what to do if they are injured, and how common safety violations could lead to on-the-job injuries. Contact a dedicated workers’ compensation attorney for assistance.
Potential Hazards in Grocery Stores and Distribution Centers
While spills or faulty doors could injure customers, these dangers could also hurt an employee. Severe injuries could likewise occur if heavy equipment, such as a meat slicer or unloading machine, is poorly maintained or used by an untrained employee.
Those who work in grocery distribution centers are subject to the same hazards that could affect any warehouse employee. Safely loading and unloading trucks requires extensive training and consistently enforced safety guidelines. When workers are not offered proper training, they could suffer serious harm.
Furthermore, distribution centers workers are often exposed to and asked to operate heavy machinery, such as forklifts or dollies. Without access to training and protective equipment, workplace safety in Charleston grocery stores and distribution centers may easily be compromised. Any injuries resulting from potential violations of workplace safety laws should be reported to a workplace safety advocate, as they could indicate negligence by an employer.
Who Is Obligated to Provide a Safe Work Environment?
According to South Carolina Code of Laws §41-15-80, every employer has a responsibility to provide a reasonably safe workspace to employees. This means employers must ensure a store or warehouse is free from hazards that could cause a severe injury or death.
Similarly, employees have a role to play in ensuring their own safety. Employees must attend proper training sessions and behave in a way that limits their exposure to hazards.
To help protect Charleston grocery stores and distribution center employees, employers should provide in-depth workplace safety training that covers all job duties. In addition, all facilities are required to maintain fire prevention equipment, have accessible emergency exits, and have an emergency action plan in case of an incident.
To make sure these standards are met, South Carolina’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has the authority to investigate any allegations of an unsafe work environment and issue fines to workplaces that violate these standards. While a fine does not provide any support to an injured employee, a documented violation could be used as strong evidence in their favor when pursuing a legal claim against a grocery store or distribution center.
A Workplace Safety Advocate Could Help Injured Grocery Store and Distribution Center Workers in Charleston
All workplaces in South Carolina have an obligation to provide a reasonably safe work environment, but in many cases, employers fail to meet the necessary safety standards. Failing to maintain safety could lead directly to injuries—accordingly, unsafe working conditions in Charleston grocery stores and distribution centers pose a threat to an employee’s health and finances.
If you were injured because of compromised workplace safety in Charleston grocery stores or distribution centers, a dedicated workers’ compensation attorney may be able to assist you. A workplace safety advocate with experience handling workplace injuries in a grocery store or distribution center could help you understand and file for workers’ compensation, or alternatively build a claim for litigation in court. Call today to start exploring your rights under Charleston employment laws and begin fighting for compensation.