Increased risk for injury as delivery economy expands

All sorts of companies from Amazon to mom-and-pops tucked away in historic Pittsburgh neighborhoods are responding to the delivery revolution. They are doing this by offering delivery options for in-store and online customers. They are also doing it to become "access points" for delivery companies. It isn't cost-efficient for delivery companies to drive a package to everyone's door all the time. So delivery companies have responded by offering free or reduced shipping prices for customers to pick up their packages at these "access points."

Unfortunately as the new delivery economy expands, so does the risk for on the job accidents. This can happen in all manner of different ways. As the holidays pick up, deliveries increase so shipping companies and the Postal Service ramp up holiday hiring.

However, as with any influx of new workers, training sometimes becomes lax and people get injured. The injuries can be serious, like becoming involved in a car accident, or minor, like lifting a package improperly. If you are expanding revenue opportunities for your small business, take care when lifting packages. The last thing you or one of your employees needs for the holidays is a strained back.

As small businesses look for new revenue streams, like becoming one of these access points, the risk from potential lawsuits increases. Aside from dealing with big corporations like FedEx or UPS, you also must deal with a new stream of customers looking for their packages; becoming an "access point" puts added strain on your business infrastructure and employees.

You may see scenarios in which artisanal cheese shops are doubling as access points for parcel delivery companies. So you have employees that were not trained lifting potentially heavy parcels and injuring themselves. This increases the risk for an on the job injury and exposes employers to potential lawsuits.

If you or a loved one are injured while working then you may want to consult an experienced employment law attorney to understand your rights. Don't let your eagerness for new revenue streams blind you to the added risk. Be aware of the possible repercussions of becoming a pseudo-delivery company. Train your employees and remember to lift with your legs.

Source: Pittsburg Post-Gazette, "Delivery economy: As volume expands, ways of receiving parcels evolving for customers," Daniel Moore, Nov. 16, 2015

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