While Pennsylvania Workers Comp rates improve, work injuries remain

Governor Tom Wolf announced that Pennsylvania Workers Compensation rates improved, yet again.  Pennsylvania fell from 17th in down to 26th in workers compensation insurance costs for businesses.  That is a pretty big jump and shows that Pennsylvania is more attractive to business and has a friendly business environment.  In fact, check out how many insurance carriers offer workers compensation coverage in Pennsylvania.

“More than 325 companies offer workers’ compensation insurance coverage in Pennsylvania,” said Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller, in a statement. “This means employers are able to find attractive, cost-efficient options for this vital insurance.”

Despite costs being down, my practice certainly has not seen a drop in work injuries in Central Pennsylvania.  Perhaps it is the area we live in, in South Central Pennsylvania.  As reported in the Chambersburg Public Opinion, Franklin County will continue to see emerging growth.   It is not hard to believe that.  All we have to do it look around at the development that has begun in Shippensburg along Interstate 81, the growth in Exit 17 in Chambersburg, and the continued health of the Chambersburg Interstate 81 area.

For Shippensburg, the United Business Park off Exit 24 is set for development and expansion in 2017.

New Jersey-based Matrix Development Group purchased 205 acres of the United Business Park near Shippensburg. Matrix plans to build two warehouse with 2.7 million square feet under roof. Matrix owns the World Kitchen warehouse in Greencastle.

Texas Stock Tabs is constructing a 100,000 square foot factory at the United Business Park at Exit 24 of Interstate 81, Shippensburg. The project will result in the preservation of 75 jobs. The company currently has a plant on Wayne Avenue in Chambersburg.

Shippensburg already experiences low unemployment due to a healthy Central Pennsylvania economy.  However, Shippensburg has added jobs through the recent development of Procter & Gamble distribution center off Exit 24 and the Georgia Pacific distribution center off Exit 29.  Matrix land developer now plans to add two large warehouses right off Exit 24.  That will obviously create more jobs.  It will also continue to raise work injuries.  Warehouses and distribution centers are a hot bed for work injuries due to the heavy and repetitive nature of those positions.  To see read more about common warehouse injuries, link here.

Mooney & Associates Free ConsultationRemember — the keys to protecting your rights if you are injured at work are:  1) report the injury immediately to your employer; 2) seek medical care right away; and 3) call Mooney & Associates for a FREE consultation to protect your rights.

Mooney & Associates has office locations in Chambersburg, Mercersburg, Greencastle, and Shippensburg.  Call today for a FREE consultation at 717-200-HURT.

Labor Market remains strong, jobless claims at 4 year low

The Labor Market continues to churn quite nicely, with initial jobless claims hovering at a four decade low.  The labor market strength is reaching full employment status.

Applications submitted to state agencies for unemployment benefits decreased by 5,000 to 271,000 in the week ended Nov. 14 from 276,000 in the previous period, a Labor Department report showed Thursday. The number of claims dipped to 255,000 in mid-July, the fewest since the 1970s.

Steady demand has encouraged employers to hold the line on firings as a tighter labor market makes it difficult to attract skilled workers. Employment has shown enough signs of strength to allow Federal Reserve policy makers to consider raising rates for the first time in almost a decade.

procter & gamble, Shippensburg

Shippensburg Proctor & Gamble warehouse

We are seeing that locally as well.  With the continual development of warehousing and distribution centers along the Interstate 81 corridor in Franklin and Cumberland counties, you are also seeing more and more temporary agency signs along roadways, posts on Facebook, and other avenues of advertising for labor.  Procter & Gamble and Georgia-Pacific in Shippensburg added a significant amount of employees to the labor market, causing shortage at other distributions center in Chambersburg, Shippensburg, and Carlisle areas.

Here is a new article published in the Carlisle Sentinel regarding Aerotek and their attempt to fill 900 jobs in this area.

One Hanover, Maryland-based staffing agency is looking to fill more than 900 job openings in fields such as logistics, health care, manufacturing, warehousing and call-centers throughout Carlisle, Harrisburg, Lewisberry and Shippensburg.  Aerotek is looking for candidates with a high school diploma or GED, with many positions offering hands-on and verbal training, the company said. Some positions offer an approximately 90-day contract-to-hire transition, with the opportunity to move up within the company.

“Central Pennsylvania’s job market is beginning to flourish as more companies turn to this area to handle their unprecedented growth and customer demand,” said Greg Long, director of operations at Aerotek’s Harrisburg base. “Companies are becoming more dynamic with how they adhere to their customer’s needs, and one of those major indicators is how quickly they are able to get their product to the customer.


Report: Truck Traffic on I-81 to increase 50% by 2040

A report was issued from the Pennsylvania Statewide Freight Model that indicates that truck traffic on Interstate 81 in Central Pennsylvania will increase by 50% by 2040.   Kevin Cole of the Interstate 81 Coalition, believes that truck traffic in this region with double by 2025.

“Purportedly 12 percent of U.S. economy travels on I-81 today,” Cole said. “We’re expecting that traffic to come regardless of what the impact of the canal is or isn’t. Moving stuff over to rail will only slow the increase. There’s not enough capacity, trains or track to reduce the number of units on the road.”

I can already see a significant increase in truck traffic along South Central Pennsylvania segments of Interstate 81 over just a 10 to 15 year time frame.  I grew up in Chambersburg and live in Shippensburg.  The impact the Distribution Era has been profound.  Chambersburg and Carlisle areas have seen astounding growth in warehouse and distribution centers along Interstate 81.  Another new surge is coming to Shippensburg along Interstate 81 with the development of Procter & Gamble off Exit 24 and the coming Georgia  Pacific distribution center off Exit 29.  Those two distribution centers are expected to significantly increase truck traffic at the Shippensburg interstate exits.


Typically, these type of distribution centers also lead to an increase in work injuries.  When we think of work injuries in a warehouse, the typical injuries that come to mind are lifting injuries and forklift accidents.  We have already seen the first significant fork lift accident at Procter & Gamble.   However, we also see injuries involving truck drivers.   Many of these injuries are not auto accident related, but loading and unloading accidents, falling of backs of trucks, product falling in the trailers of  the truck, and slip and falls outside the ruck.   Let’s hope these new facilities will stress safety and training to avoid devastating work injuries.

If you have been hurt at work at a distribution center or as a truck driver, know your rights.  Workers compensation rights are extremely valuable and important.  A FREE consultation with Mooney & Associates can get you protected and give you piece of mind.  Call out toll free number at 1-877-632-4656 or our local Chambersburg number at 717-263-9215.  We stand ready to fight for and protect your workers compensation benefits.



Shippensburg School Board approves LERTA for Georgia Pacific

The Shippensburg School District’s Board of Directors approved a LERTA for Georgia-Pacific at last nights board meeting.  The original LERTA proposed by Georgia-Pacific a few weeks ago initially requested 100% abatement in the first year with a seven year total LERTA.  That proposal was rejected by the School Board.  The new LERTA approved last evening provides tax dollars to the District throughout the LERTA, including the first year, and is for six years in length.   I voted to reject the initial proposal because I felt it was imperative to seek a shorter LERTA term and get monetary concessions up front.  That was achieved last evening.  For a School District facing mounting fiscal pressures because of the failure of the Commonwealth to adequately fund public education, these businesses are crucial in providing significant new tax dollars to the property tax base.


Georgia-Pacific is expected to sign a lease for the Pro Logis site off Exit 29 of Interstate 81 sometime after July 1st with construction to commence almost immediately.  The warehouse will be approximately 1.5 million square feet and will employ between 50 and 60 employees.  Georgia-Pacific is the second large warehouse to come to Shippensburg in the last two years.  Procter & Gamble is building off Exit 24 in Shippensburg off the Olde Scotland Road.  That building is near completion and expected to be open and running by end of summer.   Procter & Gamble has begun the hiring process in Shippensburg and is expecting to employ over 1,000 employees.   DB Schenker is the contractor used by Procter & Gamble to hire.  You can visit their website here.

The growth in the Shippensburg area coincides with what we have seen over the last fifteen years in Greencastle, Chambersburg, and Carlisle areas along the Interstate 81 Corridor.  We fully expect additional manufacturing and warehousing facilities to come to the Pro Logis site in Cumberland County and the sites along Olde Scotland Road near Procter & Gamble in Franklin County.

Mooney & Associates is a general practice and personal injury, including workers compensation, law firm with offices throughout South Central Pennsylvania.  We opened our Shippensburg office last year and it is located at 34 West King Street with Bell Insurance.  For workers compensation issues, we offer FREE CONSULTATIONS.  You can contact our firm at 717-530-0126.  Additionally, we hold evening hours every week in Shippensburg on Tuesday evenings from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM for those that work.  Evening hours are on a first come, first serve basis.

Procter & Gamble in Shippensburg Begins Hiring, Georgia Pacific likely choosing Exit 29 site

Procter & Gamble has begin the hiring process for their new Shippensburg, Pennsylvania facility.  The new 1.8 million square foot warehouse is being built along the Olde Scotland Road and is fully constructed on the exterior.   They are expected to hire 963 workers for the new facility.welcometoshippensburg2

The company will be using two third-party contractors for the hiring of employees.  Translation — the company will be using temporary agencies to staff the complex.

The company said that hiring at the facility will be handled by two independent contractors — Quality Associates Inc. and DB Schenker.

DB Schenker has launched a website where interested applicants can apply,LogisticsJobsShippensburg.com.

A spokesperson for DB Schenker said the company is now hiring for a wide variety of positions, including general warehouse, quality assurance, human resources, operations, traffic control, training, yard drivers and other positions.

In total, there is expected to be 963 total employees when fully functional, a handful of which will be actual Procter & Gamble employees.  The rest will be staffed through the above-referenced agencies.  We last reported on the status of the Procter & Gamble facility in this article.

Additionally, Georgia-Pacific is close to locating a facility in Shippensburg as well.  Originally, when we reported on Georgia-Pacific, the location choices for their new 1.5 million square foot were the Pro Logis site in Southampton Township, Cumberland County, off Interstate 81 Exit 29, and another location in Southampton Township Franklin County off Exit 24.

As a School Board member in Shippensburg, I sat through another presentation by Georgia-Pacific and the ProLogis developers last evening.  The actual site selected thus far is the ProLogis site off Exit 29 in Cumberland County.  The company reiterated that approximately 50-60 jobs will be created.  None of the employees on site are expected to be employed by Georgia-Pacific, but again, a third party contractor.    The Franklin County site off Exit 24 is no longer under consideration.

Shippensburg continues to be a hot bed for Distribution project development because of the Interstate 81 Corridor.  We have already seen substantial development in Greencastle, Chambersburg, and the Carlisle area with huge warehouses and manufacturing facilities.  Not only has development pressed local housing markets, but have also put tremendous stress on the local labor markets.  The end result may also be substantial stress on the local school district, should Shippensburg see an influx of new residents.  I suspect, based on ongoing rumors, we can expect to see continued development along the Olde Scotland Road at Exit 24.

It is important to note, with over 1,000 new temporary agency jobs on the way, that should a worker experience a work-related injury, temporary agencies are not exempt from workers compensation liability.  The same basic rule applies to all employers — if you are injured at work, their is an employee-employer relationship, the injury happened in the course and scope of employment, and the injury is work-related, then you may be eligible for workers compensation benefits.

It’s quite simple.  If you are hurt at work and you believe the injury is related to work, call Mooney & Associates right away for a FREE consultation.   We have an office in downtown Shippensburg located at 34 West King Street, with Bell Insurance, across from the long time Pague & Fegan hardware store.

Carlisle worker killed at Amazon warehouse

OSHA is investigating the death of a Carlisle, PA woman while she was working at the Amazon.com warehouse near Walnut Bottom Road in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Jody Rhoads, 52, of Carlisle, died as a result of multiple blunt force injuries at Carlisle Regional Medical Center after the motorized pallet jack she was operating crashed into shelving, according to Cumberland County Coroner Charley Hall.

This is truly a tragic event for the Rhodes family.  No one asks to get hurt at work, let along lose their life.  OSHA will be investigating whether any policies, procedures, or OSHA standards were violated by Amazon that could have resulted int he tragic accident.

The geographic area we serve, mainly, Greencastle, Chambersburg, Shippensburg, Carlisle, and Mechanicsburg areas, are continuing to have experience quite a boom in warehouse, distribution, and trucking type facilities.    The area is not limited to, by any means,  simply warehouse and distribution type facilities, but it is the largest booming type industry along the Interstate 81 corridor.  You can see it up and down this corridor.  The reasoning is quite clear, Interstate 81 allows business access to the entire East Coast on one highway that avoids most major Metropolitan areas.   We just wrote two articles on two new projects coming or may be coming to Shippensburg, Pennsylvania along I-81, Procter & Gamble and Georgia Pacific.

With these type of facilities come tons of trucking jobs, shipping and receiving jobs, warehouse labor jobs, and forklift and pallet jack operating jobs.  We are seeing more and more injuries piling up from pallet jack and forklift type incidents and accidents.   We can only hope that the employer in these facilities, which many employees start out under temporary agencies, provide more than adequate training on this equipment.  It is not just the unfortunate type of accidents above, but also legs and ankles being run over, boxes, stacks, and shelving being knocked over and hurting other employees in the area, lifting injuries form unloading, and repetitive injuries from use of this equipment.

Again, we stress, if you work in a distribution/warehouse type facility and experience an injury, provide notice immediately to your employer and seek medical treatment.   Frequently, injuries in these types of facilities are also denied by the employer.  Don’t wait.  If your employer is causing you problems with your work injury, or with you getting benefits, or even getting medical treatment, we stand ready to assist with your Workers Compensation claim.   Our consultations for workers compensation are ALWAYS FREE.

Georgia-Pacific coming to Shippensburg, Pennsylvania?

Georgia-Pacific coming to Shippensburg? – Mooney & Associates
welcometoshippensburg2Georgia-Pacific, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of paper products, such as Angel Soft, Brawny, Sparkle, and Dixie, is considering two locations for a regional distribution center in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.   The plans were presented last night before the Shippensburg School Board.  As a member of the School Board, I sat through the presentation and will be asked to vote on a LERTA, a property tax incentive program.

Georgia-Pacific presented two different locations in the Shippensburg area that it is considering for its project.  The first location sits in Cumberland County off the Walnut Bottom Road at the Prologis Business Park.  The location is across the road and near the current Beistle Company.  The second location is in Franklin County off the Olde Scotland Road across the road from the north-bound exit ramp of Exit 24 off interstate 81.  That location would be close to the new Procter  & Gamble that is expected to be up and running by September.   George-Pacific is expected to choose a location sometime in June 2014.  The School Board is expected to take up a decision on granting a LERTA at its next Board meeting on June 16.

Once the location is chosen, the project would likely get moving in development fairly quickly.   Georgia-Pacific indicated last night that the project anticipated completion date was July 2015.   The distribution center is expected to employ between 50 and 60 full time jobs.  Those jobs would be filled on a third party contract, meaning employees would not be employed by Georgia-Pacific.   Those jobs are expected to be typical warehouse jobs, including fork lift operators, shipping and receiving job, and labor type positions.  Anticipated wages would be between $14.00 and $23.00 per hour.

The fact that Georgia-Pacific is strong on Shippensburg is a clear indication of the popularity of the Shippensburg area and its I-81 access for manufacturing and warehousing type facilities.  Prior to Procter & Gamble, Shippensburg was already home to the North American headquarter of Volvo Construction Equipment, Schreiber Foods, JLG, US Express Trucking, and the Beistle Company.   Proctor & Gamble and Georgia-Pacific will add an estimated 1000-1100 jobs to the Shippensburg area.

The continued development along Olde Scotland Road will no doubt increase truck traffic and likely lead to road improvements in the I-81 Interchange area.    They will certainly add to the property tax base, but also bring new people to the area and potentially further press class sizes in Shippensburg schools.

In terms of workers compensation, these types of jobs lead to an array of work-related injuries.  Typically, in warehouse facilities, we see injuries related to lifting, repetitive type injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome, and fork lift accident injuries.   Hopefully, at the end of the day, both facilities preach and practice  work place  safety and abide by OSHA and other safety standards.

With the increased population and growth in Shippensburg, Mooney & Associates opened a Shippensburg office two years ago.  Our office is located at 34 West King Street across from Pague  & Fegan.  We are located in a building along with Bell Insurance.  Our firm handles personal injury, including workers compensation, social security disability, and motor vehicle accidents, as well as general practice, including criminal defense, family law, real estate settlements, and estate planning and administration.   The office is an appointment only office.  Our attorneys will meet you in Shippensburg at any time by appointment.  Additionally, the Shippensburg office has evening hours every Tuesday from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.  All are welcome.