Amazon employee killed in accident at Amazon Warehouse in Carlisle

An Amazon Warehouse employee was killed in a work accident recently.

The is the second death at the Middletown/Carlisle facility since 2014.  If you recall, an employee was killed in 2014 in a pallet jack accident.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating a death at an area Amazon facility.

Devan Michael Shoemaker, 28, of Millerstown, died Tuesday of multiple traumatic injuries at the Amazon warehouse on Allen Road in South Middleton Township.

Cumberland County Coroner Charles Hall confirmed Shoemaker died after the 5:15 p.m. accident in which he was run over while helping the driver of a truck tractor hook up a trailer.

Amazon had already been warned and fined by OSHA in 2016 at it’s New Jersey facility for failure to address workplace safety concerns.  I’ve written in this issue time and time again.  Big conglomerates like Amazon consistently skirt safety issues for lower operating costs, while the employees are the ones to suffer, often from devastating work injuries, and in this case, even death.

I have represented many injured workers at Amazon in Carlisle.  With Central Pennsylvania’s warehouse growth in full swing, more and more warehouse type injuries are occurring.  Check out my previous article on common warehouse injuries.

If you work at one of the many warehouse or distribution center in Central Pennsylvania and have sustained a work injury, don’t hesitate to call Mooney & Associates to protect your right and benefits you may be entitled to under the Workers Compensation Act.  Places of employment like this often try and intimidate injured employees, downplay injuries, deny injuries, terminate employment when injured, or have injured workers sign forms quickly.   Get represented!  Call Mooney & Associates for a FREE CONSULTATION AT 717-200-HELP or 1-877-632-4656.

Bilateral Avascular Hip Necrosis found to be Aggravated by Work Injury

Mooney & Associates recently won a case for an injured Pennsylvania worker that included bilateral avascular necrosis.  The claimant had both left and right hips replaced and the insurance carrier was forced to pay for both hip replacements.

Generally, avascular necrosis of the hip (AVN) is a degenerative condition that is not completely understood by the medical community.  Essentially, avascular hip necrosis is a dying bone condition within the hip that in most cases will lead to a hip replacement.   It is not a condition that is caused by a traumatic injury, such as falling or getting hit in the hip with an object.  However, it is also a condition that many injured workers may have, but have no previous knowledge of such condition and no prior hip pain.

These types of non-traumatic conditions will almost always lead to the issuance of a workers compensation denial from your employer’s workers compensation insurance carrier.   Any ‘pre-existing condition’ such as degenerative disk disease, a prior surgery, a prior work injury, or a condition like AVN, will always trigger a denial.  That is a given.  That DOES NOT mean that your pain is not work-related, despite what your employer may tell you.

Every story is different.  Did you have pain or symptoms in that area prior to your work incident?  Have you gone a significant period of time with no treatment for a prior injury or surgery?  What does your doctor say?  There are many complex questions to be asked when dealing with a pre-existing condition.  There are strategies to be developed and positions to take.  Mooney & Associates has a strong track record in winning aggravation/exacerbation cases, just like our gentleman from Hanover, Pennsylvania with the bilateral hip necrosis.

Don’t let your employer tell you that you did not experience a work injury because of a pre-existing condition or because you are an older worker.  You do not need to take that.  Call Mooney & Associates today at 717-200-HELP to schedule your FREE CONSULTATION with Attorney Mark Buterbaugh or email him direct at  We stand ready to protect and defend Pennsylvania injured workers!

Common Pennsylvania Nursing Home Work Injuries

nursing home back injury We see many common nursing home injuries in Pennsylvania.  It is like a repeated story that you’ve heard over and over again.  With the growing elderly population due to aging baby boomers and the fact that Pennsylvania is a retirement friendly state, nursing homes are increasingly busy and that also means that job demands within the nursing homes are becoming more intense.  That ultimately leads to a rise in common nursing home work injuries.

Those nursing home work injuries are spread throughout the healthcare work force, from LPNs to CNAs to Maintenance staff, and to food service workers.  In all of these positions, the job demands can be physically demanding and stressful.

So what are the common nursing home work injuries?

Repetitive Trauma/Overexertion.  OSHA has published recent reports on the susceptibility of health care workers to work injuries and hazards.    In fact, latest statistics indicate that healthcare workers are more than seven times more likely to suffer musculoskeletal injuries.   These types of injuries can be strain/sprains, slipped discs, disc herniation, ligament and muscle tears, and aggravation of pre-existing conditions that were primarily non-symptomatic prior to the work event.  Much of this spurns from handling activities, such as lifting and supporting nursing home patients.  I’ve personally had many nursing home employee clients who were injured while manually lifting patients while transferring them in and out of beds or chairs.  These type of injuries also frequently occur when an employees attempts to stop a patient from falling.  These type of activities frequently lead to back, neck, and shoulder injuries.


Slips and falls.  When water or liquids are spilled on the floor of a nursing home or hospital, a healthcare worker can fall on the slick floor.  We have seen slip and falls on urine in the bathroom or alongside the beds.  These type of injuries cause a wide array of injuries, including back, neck, shoulder, knee, and concussion type injuries.

Understaffing.   Unfortunately, here in Central Pennsylvania, this has been an issue.  Whether the understaffing comes from lack of work force, employee shift call offs, or purposeful staff reductions, understaffing leads to work injuries.  It certainly increases the risk of repetitive trauma injuries to the hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, and neck.  Understaffing leads to injuries because of pressure to work quicker due to staff shortfalls, and due to the fact that many times, support and assistance in repositioning and moving patients simply is not there.  That leads to LPNs and CNAs doing a two person job with one person available.  You can see how that story will play out.

Patient Violence.  Yes, patient violence.   Often times, nursing home patient may not be of sound mind.  I have had injuries clients who were repeatedly punched, kicked, and bitten by patients.  Some of these injuries can be quite serious.

There are many other type of injuries, including needles, infections, occupational diseases, and more.  The ones listed above are what we frequently see in our law firm.

What can you do?

If you are a nursing home / health care worker in Central Pennsylvania and have been injured on the job, first report the injury immediately to a supervisor.  That is priority number one.  Get it documented.  Second, seek medical treatment right away.  Finally, call us toll free at 1-877-632-4656 or locally at 717-200-HELP   to set up a FREE consultation with us.  Your workers compensation benefits are much too important to go it alone.   You can also contact me directly by email.  My contact information is on the right side bar.

Winter Weather brings Slip and Fall Injuries in Central Pennsylvania

With winter weather right around the corner, slip and fall injuries in Central Pennsylvania become all too frequent.  Employees need to be cognizant of winter weather.  Often, when snow and ice are on the ground, it inevitably leads to slip and fall injuries at work.


Slip and fall injuries in Central Pennsylvania are common between November and March


Central Pennsylvania is home to a healthy array of warehouses, manufacturing, and trucking facilities.  Often, we see work injuries as a result of snow and ice at these type of employers.  These normally are the result of slips and falls getting out of trucks, standing on the back of trucks or edges of landing docks, or walking building to building on snow and ice.  Slip and fall injuries in Central Pennsylvania are common from November through March.

Unfortunately, we see significant back, knee, shoulder and neck conditions as a result of these work injuries.  You can read more about common slip and fall injuries here at OSS.  Whether they result from direct impact, such as falling right on a knee or onto the low back, or by bracing injuries, such as sticking your arm out to break a fall, these types of slip and falls can lead to painful, debilitating injuries.

It is vital that should a slip and fall injury happen to you, that you follow two very important steps to protect your rights.  Often times, these type of injuries are not witnessed by any other employee.  That means your employer may or may not be skeptical.  It happens.

The two most important steps you should take immediately upon a slip and fall is to provide immediate notice to a supervisor and to seeks medical attention right away.  These steps seem obvious, but they are not always followed by injured employees, which can, and frequently do, then lead to denials of work injuries.  This is not a guarantee that your claim will be accepted.  Employers and their insurance carriers are quick yo find any potential reason to deny a claim, such as, an unwitnessed event.  However, taking the right steps helps me prove and defend your claim and protect your right under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act.

The best way to avoid these type of slip and falls on snow and ice is to take it slow, wear appropriate footwear, and hold on to railings, walls, and other items to help void a potential slip or fall.

The final important step to take should you slip and fall on ice while at work is contact me right away.  You can do that by accessing the contact information to the right.  Insurance companies in Pennsylvania are always represented by legal counsel.  Those insurance attorneys are frequently looking over files and making recommendations to limit employer liability.  You should have and deserve experienced legal counsel on your side as well.  Call me today for a FREE consultation.

Happy Labor Day Pennsylvania!

One thing I have learned through my years of dedicating my practice to representing injured workers is the fact we have a strong labor work ethic in Pennsylvania.  I see it everyday.


The misnomer out there is that injured workers want to just sit on workers compensation benefits.  That is just not accurate.  Many injured workers that I represent want to get back to work quickly, even before they are healed.  Many are losing precious dollars each week, many are long time employees of companies they enjoy working for, and others feel worthless just sitting at home, while they heal from their work injuries.  These are not people trying to live off a benefit they deserve.  These folks do not go to work asking to be injured.

Robust Economy in Central Pennsylvania

In Central Pennsylvania, we have a robust economy.  Cumberland County is expected to become the fastest growing county in the Commonwealth.  From a strong housing market, to a positive tax environment, to a robust work ethic, the Carlisle, Mechanicsburg, Silver Spring Township, Hampden Township areas, and even south to Shippensburg, are bustling with economic development.  Even across the county border to Franklin County, just look at the growth in Chambersburg.  Distribution Centers and manufacturing are popping up all along Interstate 81 corridor.  Shippensburg is set to see more growth off Interstate 81, Exit 24.  One thing these companies have cited is a strong work ethic.  That is something to be proud of.  Companies do not locate to areas where they do not believe they can gain a strong work force.

So on this Labor Day, we should take pride in our communities that we live in and be thankful we are seeing growth and advancement, not decay and depreciation.  Pennsylvania is not a growing state, population wise, but the area we live in, well, the story is quite different.  Take pride in our communities and who we are as Central Pennsylvanians.  We work well, we work hard, and we produce.

Treating injured employees with respect

Hopefully, as we continue to see companies locate into Cumberland, Franklin, and Adams counties, we will see companies become good stewards.  Part of that is treating employees with respect and taking care of them when they are hurt.  Work injuries happen.  It is a fact.  Many people get hurt working around the home.  But, at work, there is heavy lifting, there are fork lift accidents, there is such a thing as repetitive stress and trauma, there are slip and falls, there are certified nursing assistant who get injured helping patients, and there are auto accidents.  The key is how we respond to such injuries.  Companies need to do a better job at restructuring or revising processes to avoid work injuries.  They need to constantly evaluate work injuries and make changes to head off injuries before they occur.  They need to put employee safety as a core company value.  Without employees, companies do not exist.  Without a healthy work force, profits dwindle.  It’s called good stewardship and it needs to become a core principle.  Companies need to stop with the suspicions, stop the blaming, and stop putting up impediments to treatment for injuries, and instead, focus on getting injured workers well and compensating them fairly for life altering injuries.  Continue reading

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.

OSHA reports on first year of injury reporting

The Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA) has reported on its first year of the severe work injury reporting program.  injury

All Employers throughout the country are required now to report severe work place injuries.  Specifically, 

Now, under a requirement that took effect Jan. 1, 2015, employers must report to OSHA within 24 hours any work-related amputation, in-patient hospitalization, or loss of eye

Of the injuries reported last year, here is the breakdown provided in the OSHA report.

“Employers reported 10,388 severe injuries, including 7,636 hospitalizations and 2,644 amputations. For more statistics and the evaluation of the impact of the new requirements . . . the numbers amount to 30 work-related severe injuries each day, evidence that, despite decades of progress, many US work sites remain hazardous to workers” 

The three largest sectors of employers with the most reported hospitalizations are:  manufacturers (26%), construction (19%), and transportation/warehousing (11%).  Of amputations, manufacturers indicated 57% of reported amputation injuries.

Looking at where we live, Central Pennsylvania, most of the work injuries I have litigated have been in these three work place sectors, along with employees of nursing homes and health care agencies.  South Central Pennsylvania has seen an explosion in transportation/warehouse and manufacturing growth from Greencastle near the Maryland border up through the Harrisburg region, along the Interstate 81 corridor.  That makes these type of numbers even more important for our area to understand and comprehend.

The frustrating thing about reading this report is the indication that many of these severe injuries are easily preventable.  That is just frustrating.  Employers are constantly trying to implement new cost-saving procedures in their facilities.  That is understandable.  However, these type of cost savings should not be directed at work place safety.

In many instances in which I have represented injured workers, my clients’ injuries were indeed easily preventable.  I wish employers understood the profound impact a work injury typically has on the lives of the injured workers.  Employers fail to understand the devastating physical and emotional impact these injuries cause on a person.

Often, we just think about the pain and and physical condition from a work injury.  However, it goes beyond that.  Work injuries often devastate an injured worker financially.  Many injured workers can’t afford to be out of work getting paid 2/3 of their weekly pay.  Still, even more so, many injured workers have denied injuries, putting them out of work with no pay at all.   That may lead to foreclosures, bankruptcy, homelessness, domestic problems in their marriages, and more.  The toll these injuries take on an individual injured worker is often forgotten by their employer and insurance carrier.  Even more so, when the worker returns to work or returns in modified duty, the once amicable relationship with bosses, co-workers, and maybe even business owners, suddenly turns sour.  Snide comments are made about faking an injury.  Work place discipline begins to increase.  Harassment by co-workers takes place.  I see it all the time and it is completely frustrating to me.  Unfortunately, it is also becoming more a norm, than not.

It’s simple.  If you have been hurt on the job, you shouldn’t and you do not have to fight the work injury on your own.  Your benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act are too important to you.  Do three things immediately when you are hurt on the job:  1) report the injury to your employer right away; 2) seek medical treatment immediately; and 3) call Mooney & Associates at 717-200-HURT or 1-877-632-4656 for a FREE consultation regarding your rights and our ability to protect them on your behalf.  Again, you do not have to go it alone!  Mooney & Associates has twelve offices scattered throughout Central Pennsylvania to conveniently meet with you.  We have offices in Chambersburg, Mercersburg, Shippensburg, Carlisle, Harrisburg, Duncannon, Halifax, Gettysburg, York, Hanover, New Oxford, and Stewartstown.  Soon we will be adding a meeting location in Lancaster.  We are making it as easy as possible to consult with us!


Low wages and frequent injuries for nursing home employees in Pennsylvania

04102-box2A guest column by Bill Parkinson in the Carlisle Sentinel caught my eye.  The essence of Mr. Parkinson’s article is the pathetic nature of the low wages paid to nursing home employees.

There’s clearly something terribly askew about a system wherein the individuals we trust to care for those we love aren’t paid a living wage.

That inequity speaks volumes — tearfully sad volumes — about our priorities, our respect for our relatives and ourselves.

How right he is.

I represent and have represented many nursing home employees, usually LPNs and CNAs.  They work long hours, provide essential services, and care about the residents, our parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, etc . . . Their wages are low and hours long.   More striking, as Mr. Parkinson points out, is the fact we here in Pennsylvania having a booming nursing home industry with no sign of any downtown anytime soon.  Pennsylvania ranks in the Top 5 in senior citizen population, thanks to senior citizen tax breaks on various types of retirement income.  In my practice, I see the financial struggles of these hard working individuals.  Not only do they have seemingly difficult jobs, but they struggle to provide their families anywhere close to a sustainable income.

That is only one side of the picture though.

Over the years, I’ve represented many LPNs and CNAs because of work injuries.   Injuries are frequent in these facilities.  Sadly, nursing homes frequently deny work injuries and force  employees to fight for benefits, which many times leaves them at home and injured and and with absolutely no income while they litigate their claim.  Time after time, I see back, neck, and shoulder injuries from lifting patients or from stopping patients from falling.  I have one client who was lifting a patient according to company protocols, with the patient’s arms around her neck, but, unfortunately, the patient lifted her feet, putting all the the weight and pressure on my client’s back, resulting in a severe back injury.  Yet, the nursing home denied the injury.  I see slip and falls of employees because of fluids, such as urine, on the floor in the patient’s room.  I see multiple injuries where patient’s attack LPNs or CNAs, such as kicking and punching them, which results in numerous and various types of injuries.

Many of these injuries are avoidable by having better training programs on lifting and moving patients, safer policies and protocols, reducing overtime, paying better wages to reduce frequent turnover, and adding more staff to staff depleted shifts.  In fact, several of the injuries I have seen can be directly blamed to staffing shortfalls.  Given the money these facilities earn, that’s a down right shame, but all too frequent.  As you can see by this link, nursing assistants rank at the top in terms of days missed due to work injuries, even above construction workers and truck drivers.   According to a study from RTI, a staggering 60% of certified nursing assistants suffer work injuries.  That’s truly staggering.

Lifting, bathing or handling residents, resident aggression and accidents involving facility equipment led the causes of injury among CNAs. Of those who were injured, 65.8 percent reported being injured more than once in the past year, 16 percent required a transfer to light duty work and 24 percent were unable to work because of their injury.

If you are a CNA or LPN in Central Pennsylvania and have been hurt on the job, contact Mooney & Associates right away.  We will fight hard for you and make sure you get all the workers compensation benefits that you are entitled to.  Our consultations are FREE, it costs you nothing.  You don’t need to fight alone. Call us at 1-877-632-4656 or visit us on the web at

Realities in a Pennsylvania workers compensation settlement

settlementimageI have written posts before about the timing of a workers compensation settlement. It’s a personal decision between you and your family.  The topic of this post is — settlement expectations. There are a few realistic expectations that must be discussed to better help you understand the settlement process.

First, just because an injured worker decides they are ready to settle their claim, does not necessarily mean the workers compensation insurance carrier is interested in settling claim. It has to be a two-way street, “it takes two to tango”.

Second, it is important to understand that settlement often does not occur quickly. Many times, if a Claimant is interested in settling, an insurance carrier may commence litigation, such as filing a Suspension or Termination Petition, to gain leverage in settlement discussions. Other times it can take weeks or even a few months for an insurance carrier to evaluate your claim and respond to a demand. I can’t dictate their pace. The point is — just because an injured worker makes a decision that he/she is ready to settle their claim, that does not mean the process will be immediate.

Third, it is important to understand that just because this friend, or this co-worker, or this neighbor, etc… got this specific amount, that does not translate to what you may receive. Facts are always different in every case. Litigation posture is different. Insurance carriers may be different. Injuries, even if to the same body area, are different and vary in extent of disability. Employers themselves are different in amounts they will pay and jobs they will offer. A big factor — wages of the injured worker, play a critical role in settlement. There are just too many factors that go into case value, than simply, “I hurt my shoulder, so did my buddy, so I should get what he gets”.

Finally, and more importantly, an injured worker must understand that settlements in workers’ compensation are fairly limited, in terms of payout, despite what you might hear. Why? The Workers Compensation Act limited recovery and made workers compensation benefits the EXCLUSIVE remedy when you are injured on the job. What does that mean? It means there is no pain and suffering, despite popular belief and what you may believe to be fair. With workers compensation benefits, you are entitled to wage loss benefits, payment of medical bills, and specific loss benefits, which only apply to amputation and loss of use injuries.  We hear a lot about pain and suffering damages in motor vehicle and slip and fall cases. Since these damages are unavailable in workers compensation, settlements in the six figure amounts are the exception, rather than the norm.
Generally speaking, you can expect a workers compensation settlement to be between two and five years of additional weekly wage loss benefits. Notice I said the word ‘generally’. Again, many factors go into this, such as work availability, extent of injury and disability, whether the injured worker had surgery, whether the injured worker is out of work or working light duty, whether restrictions are permanent or temporary, strength of case and evidence, insurance carrier and employer, etc… It’s a complicated process, which is why you should NEVER negotiate a settlement yourself. You will always be undercut and not provided the true value of your case.

Before you decide to settle your case, have a frank discussion with your attorney.  In most cases, settling a claim means settling the entire claim, which includes settling the right to wage loss benefits and medical benefits. In most cases, when you settle, your claim is finished in its entirety, including future medical treatment. It is absolutely vital to discuss your claim, your situation, and your treatment with your attorney before settling. Once you settle, it’s over. Period.  If your condition were to worsen after settlement, you need to understand that a Judge can not reopen your claim.  If you have not reached MMI (Maximum Medical Improvement) and you settle your case, any future medical treatment and expenses will become your sole, exclusive responsibility.

Other factors that effect settlement include: offsets/credits involving any unemployment compensation you may have received, offsets for Social Security Retirement (SSR) benefits; social security disability benefits, pension/severance benefits; short-term and long-term disability (STD/LTD) benefits, salary continuation, etc . . . Receipt of these types of benefits can reduce settlement value of your claim.

Finally, the most important factor that impacts your settlement value of your case is your actual compensation rate, which is based on your wages. Generally the main rules is this — the lower your wages, the lower the settlement value, and the higher your wages, the potential for higher settlement values. Fair? No. Reality, yes.

Settling your workers’ compensation case is a critical decision because of the impact on your workers compensation rights, entitlement to wage loss payments and medical benefits. You do not need to go it alone, nor should you. You can call Mooney & Associates today for a FREE consultation. Call us today at 1-877-632-4656 or email me direct at

Shippensburg’s Domestic Castings cited again by OSHA

Domestic Castings, a castings manufacturer located in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, has been cited and fined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for the eighth time for safety violations.

Domestic Casting in Shippensburg has been cited and fined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for the for the eighth time in four years.

OSHA said Monday its three most recent inspections in June and July 2014 at the Shippensburg facility found 27 total violations and issued $152,912 in fines for many dangers previously found by OSHA inspectors, including fall, machine guarding, and sling hazards.

This is absolutely troubling to me.  This is not a first or second time violation, this is the eighth violation in the last few years.  That is a clear indication that the company just doesn’t care about the safety and health of their employees.  I just don’t understand that.  Employees are the driving force behind a company.  Unfortunately, I see all too often the results of safety ‘shortcuts’ or simply ignoring safety hazards.  For a company, it is a way to save a few bucks, for an injured worker, it can be devastating and life altering.  Work injuries frequently occur due to short cuts and cost saving measures.   Hand rails removed, safe guards taken off equipment, faulty mechanical equipment left unchecked, electrical lines exposed, are just some of the examples I’ve seen and this list is far from inclusive.   Yet, it is the everyday, hard working employee who ends up harmed.  Most of these OSHA cited violations are all about money and not wanting to spend funds to safeguard workers.

Another troubling fact in this specific case is that the violations recently cited are repeat violations.  They are violations that can cause serious harm.  But, they don’t care.  Time to discuss this with my state legislators.

A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Domestic Casting was previously cited for these same violations in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

They simply do not care.

Harrisburg OSHA Director Kevin Kilp commented on the violations.

“This company continues to ignore its employees’ safety by exposing them to dangers, including falls and hazards associated with lifting heavy loads. Domestic Casting must take immediate action to remove these hazards to protect workers from the risk of serious injury and possible death,” Kevin Kilp, director of OSHA’s Harrisburg Area Office, said in a statement.

If you have been injured on the job, we encourage you to follow our simple three steps to protect you and your workers compensation rights.  First, tell your employer about your injury.  Second, seek medical treatment right away.  Finally, call Mooney & Associates for a FREE consultation.  We can meet you in any of our twelve convenient Central Pennsylvania locations, including in our Shippensburg office located with Bell Insurance across from Pague & Fagan hardware store on West King Street.   Call today for a free consultation at 1-877-632-4656, or 717-263-9215.