The Six Common Warehouse Work Injuries We See

South Central Pennsylvania is one of the fastest booming areas in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, especially in warehouses.  In fact, several of the counties that we serve are listed among the Top 15 in Pennsylvania for population growth from 2010 to 2014.  Those counties are:  Cumberland (1st), Lancaster (4th), Franklin (6th), and Dauphin (15th).  That leads to jobs, but also to common warehouse injuries.

Warehouse Injury

Common warehouse injuries in Pennsylvania

Warehousing Growth in Central Pennsylvania

A large part of the growth that has occurred in Central Pennsylvania can be directly attributed to the warehousing and manufacturing development along the interstate 81 Corridor, from Greencastle, PA up through Dauphin County.  We’ve seen a recent boom, such as the development of Food Lion Distribution and World Kitchen in Greencastle, Chambersburg area warehouse development,  which includes, Target, Ulta, K Mart, and Staples, new warehouses in Shippensburg, which includes, Procter & Gamble and Georgia Pacific, newer warehouses in Carlisle, which includes, Giant Foods, Ross Distribution, AMES distribution, Office Depot, Ryder, Amazon,  OHL, and Lindt Chocolate.  Those are just a few. These warehouse operations employ many people through South Central Pennsylvania.  Additionally, there is more warehousing growth set for Carlisle (Exit 44 off I-81) and Shippensburg (Exit 24 and 29 off I-81).    Continue reading

Pennsylvania Employee injured while running in parking lot not granted workers’ compensation

There are cases now and then that involve the argument of ‘course and scope’, meaning, did the injury occur in the course and scope of employment.  Over the years, Pennsylvania Courts have reduced gray areas of the law involving course and scope arguments.  Recently, the Commonwealth Court issued an opinion, in Quality Bicycle Products v. WCAB (Shaw), No. 1570 C.D. 2015 (Cmwlth Ct., 2016), further defining the elements of the course and scope test.

CommCtIn Quality Bicycle Products, a Claimant was working at his Employer when he received a family emergency call from his wife.  After seeking permission to leave, he hurried out of the building and as he was running to his automobile to leave, he felt a pop in his knee and was in excruciating pain, which caused him to go down to the ground.  The Claimant’s argument of a work related injury was that the injury occurred on the employer’s premises.  The Employer’s argument was that the injury occurred outside the course and scope of employment.  The Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) granted benefits to the Claimant and the Workers Compensation Appeal Board (WCAB) affirmed the WCJ.

The Commonwealth Court reversed the WCJ and WCAB.  In it’s Opinion, the Court stated when an employee is NOT furthering the business of the employer, then the employee must meet three elements to meet the course and scope of employment test.

An employee who is not furthering the business or affairs of his employer must prove he or she is within the course of his or her employment by satisfying the following three conditions: “(1) the injury must have occurred on the employer’s premises; (2) the employee’s presence thereon was required by the nature of his employment; and (3) the injury was caused by the condition of the premises or  by the operation of the employer’s business thereon.”
Markle

The critical thing to remember here is this is not a OR test, it is a AND test, meaning, all three elements must be met in order to meet the elements and therefore fall within the course and scope of employment.

In this case, the Commonwealth Court reversed the decision and ruled that the Claimant did NOT meet the third element of the test.  Here, there was no slip and fall.  There was no tripping over a pot hole or slipping on ice.  The employee was simply running when he felt a pop in pain in his knee.  The Court ruled that the injury was caused by his own act of running, not by any condition of the premises.

Workers’ compensation cases are complex.  How the injury occurred, extent of the injury, timing of the injury, and many other factors influence entitlement to benefits.  That is why it is imperative that you seek legal counsel that is experienced in Workers’ Compensation.  If you have been hurt on the job, we can help.  We have thirteen convenient office locations throughout Central Pennsylvania:  Chambersburg, Mercersburg, Shippensburg, Carlisle, Harrisburg, Duncannon, Halifax, York, Hanover, Gettysburg, New Oxford, and Stewartstown.  We also are now able to meet clients in Lancaster!  If you have been hurt on the job, do not go it alone.  call Mooney & Associates for a FREE consultation.  Remember, we get no fee unless you recover!  Call us at 717-200-HURT or 1-877-632-4656.

Firm Website:  http://www.mooney4law.com

Franklin County PA booming with jobs

Franklin County, Pennsylvania has a booming economy.  The article from WHTM states the economy in Franklin County has added 1200 jobs in 12 months.

ABC27 News reported in the past how Cumberland County is the fastest growing county in the state. Franklin County is also seeing increased numbers and is sixth on the list.

You can see it with the construction along the Interstate 81 Corridor.  A new warehouse  facility is under construction in Cumberland County off the Exit 44 right near Carlisle.  In Franklin County, as we reported here, Atlas CopCo is adding 50 manufacturing jobs to Western Franklin County with a new facility near Fort Loudon.  That facility is under construction.  Development is occurring off Exit 24 in Shippensburg.  First was Procter & Gamble in Shippensburg with huge warehouse, but more development is under consideration.  A manufacturing facility is considering a site off Exit 24 with a possibility of two additional distribution centers off that exit being considered.

It’s a continued growth model in the area.

“We know we’re well positioned for growth,” said Mike Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corporation. “Four states, four counties, 40 miles. There’s a lot going on in the 81 corridor that is impacting our growth.”

In fact, 500 to 1,000 more jobs are expected to come to Franklin County this year.

“Success begets success,” Ross said.

More importantly, the job growth and development is having an impact in other sectors.

Ross said the manufacturing jobs are where most of the new jobs are, and those are attracting restaurants and shops to the area as well.

We’ve been seeing that off Exit 17 with the continued development of the newer Exit there.   That area has just added Chick Fila, a new Starbuck location, Five Guys, and more to come.

Clarifying the Social Security cuts coming on April 29

57f94-social-security-disability-attorneyYou may start to see headlines pop up, such as this article, about millions of Americans being affected by Social Security cuts that are looming at the end of April.  It may stroke fear in you, as a current Social Security recipient. No need to worry.

Let me explain.

The cuts that are coming are closing an unintended loophole within the Social Security Act that allowed for a method of obtaining benefits through what was called ‘file and suspend’.  Essentially, file and suspend permitted someone else to get spousal benefits while the primary worker delayed his/her own benefit.   Another explanation is here.

File-and-suspend allows people who are eligible for both the spousal and worker’s benefits from Social Security, starting at age 62, to file for both, but defer taking one of those benefits until a later date. The other benefit for which they were eligible would still go into effect. Under this system, spouses and children were entitled to collect from Social Security even while their loved one’s benefits were suspended.

Under the new law that closed the loop hole, no one may receive benefits based on anyone else’s work history while their own benefits are suspended. In addition, no one may “unsuspend” their suspended Social Security benefits to get a lump sum payment.   By eliminating the loop hole, it will stop a purposeful benefit-boosting tactic.

So, if you are s social security recipient, a senior citizen on retirement benefits, how does this effect you?  IT DOESN’T.

If you currently receive benefits, how does this effect you?  IT DOESN’T.

If I helped you win social security disability or social security supplemental income benefits, how does this effect you?  IT DOESN’T.

If you have not yet filed, and want to file for benefits, then suspend them, to allow your spouse to claim benefits under you, how does this effect you.  YOU BETTER DO IT BEFORE APRIL 30.

It is really that simple.

If you, a family member, a neighbor, or a friend have applied for Social Security Disability benefits and have been denied, call Mooney & Associates right away.  We will represent you in front of a Social Security Judge to get you benefits.  Remember, you only have 60 days from the date of the denial letter to submit an appeal.  If you miss that window, you must start the process all over again.  We can file that appeal for you.  Simply call 717-200-HURT or 1-877-632-4656 for a FREE CONSULTATION. 

Harrisburg plumbing company fined by OSHA

A Harrisburg area plumbing company, Williamson Plumbing, has been fined by OSHA for safety violations after a workers was injured while working in a trench.  The injury was caused by a trench collapse, which trapped the injured worker and caused the injured worker to have to be hospitalized.

After investigating, OSHA issued citations for what it called “one willful, six serious and one other-than-serious violations.”

The agency also issued citations to the company for failing to:

– keep excavated materials at least two feet from the edge of the trench.

– construct trenches in accordance with allowable slopes and configurations.

– ensure that a competent person inspected the trench.

– instruct employees in recognizing and avoiding unsafe conditions.

– maintain OSHA injury and illness records.

OSHA also proposes a penalty of $41,200, its news release said.

Willful serious offenses are just plain bothersome to me.   They often lead to serious injuries that are devastating to the injured worker, yet, in may situations, there are simple remedies by the employer that could have been made to prevent such accidents and injuries.

Can I receive unemployment after settling my workers’ comp? Part II

CommCtYou may remember that we addressed this issue in July 2014.  If not, you can read that article here.

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has handed down a new case on March 9, 2016.  So has this changed the legal ground with reference to the settlement of a workers’ compensation case and subsequent entitlement to unemployment compensation in Pennsylvania?  The answer, no, not really.

As we stated in our previous post, Lee v. UCBR set the standard in cases where a resignation letter is signed as part of a workers’ compensation settlement.

When an employee resigns from employment, the burden to prove eligibility for unemployment falls to the employee to prove a necessitous and compelling reason for resignation. Specifically, in Lee v. UCBR, The Commonwealth Court made it quite difficult to meet that burden when voluntarily resigning as part of a workers compensation settlement.

This case did not change that case-law.

Essentially, if you resign as part of a workers’ compensation settlement, and your resignation effectively ends your light duty assignment, you are not going to be eligible for unemployment compensation.  If the employer is not accommodating your light duty and you’ve been asked to resign to settle your workers’ compensation, you should seek the advice of an experienced workers compensation attorney to protect and explain your right to both your settlement and unemployment compensation after settlement.

Never settle your case without the advice of counsel.  The rights under both Acts are simply to valuable to go it alone.  Fore a FREE consultation, call our law firm at 717-200-HURT or 1-877-632-4656.  Mooney & associates stands ready to protect and fight for you against the insurance carrier!  Don’t want to call or have time, then drop me an email at mab@mooney4law.com.