Warehouse growth in Franklin and Cumberland County is a blessing and a curse

04102-box2The Greencastle, Chambersburg, Shippensburg, and Carlisle areas have been booming with large warehouse development.  The growth is obviously related to Interstate 81, a  corridor that has become truck heavy in carrying good both north and south.  The good part of the warehousing boom is — the jobs.  The bad part of the warehousing boom — the jobs.

The warehousing boom has certainly lowered unemployment rates in South Central Pennsylvania.  The most recent data indicates Franklin County with a 5.2% unemployment rate and Cumberland County with a 4.7% unemployment rate, those both falling under the statewide 5.7% unemployment rate.  Those are excellent numbers in a nationwide economy still recovering from the great 2007-2009 recession.

However, unfortunately for the mid-state, many of these distribution/fulfillment center type jobs are temporary jobs. That means little to no benefits.  The pay at these warehouses is also sub-par than what would be desired, ranging from $9 to $14 per hour.    Let’s take for instance the new warehouse facility off Exit 24 in Shippensburg, the Procter & Gamble facility.  Procter & Gamble just opened in September.  When it reaches peak performance, it may employ to near 1,2000 jobs in the 1.8 million square foot distribution center.   Not surprisingly though, out of a potential 1200 employees, ONLY FIVE will be actual Procter & Gamble employees.  All others will be through temporary employment contractors, such as DB Schenker and Quality Associates.

More than likely, along with lower paying, temporary jobs, you have witnessed much heavier truck traffic on Interstate 81.  That will only worsen.  That will only cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

Besides job quality, Ross is also looking at the traffic. Everyone has a tale about a near miss on I-81 or waiting in line for a crash to be cleared, he said.

“It is out of control,” Ross said. “Widening I-81 has to be the No. 1 priority. If they say funding is available today, we’re still looking 10 to 15 years out. It goes from being our lifeline to being our albatross.”

From a workers compensation standpoint, it means more work injuries.  It also means more workers compensation litigation.  Why?  Temporary agencies tend to deny more claims and make injured workers fight for their benefits.   Many of these injured workers can’t afford to be out of work and not receiving any wages.  Many of these workers have absolutely no access to quality health insurance coverage.  Their temporary agency employers do not provide insurance in many cases and the injured workers wages are too low to afford private insurance on their own. It’s a failure in the system.

Warehouse work injuries vary from facility to facility, depending on the products ad methods utilized in the fulfillment process.  So what types of injuries does our law firm see in warehousing type facilities.  Here is a list, but certainly not an exhausting list.

  • Repetitive type injuries.  These types of injuries usually involve the upper extremities.   Common type repetitive injuries are carpal tunnel syndrome (hand and wrist), cubital tunnel syndrome (elbow), bursitis (shoulder, knee, joint areas), DeQuervein’s  (wrist), Epicondylitis (Elbow) , Goal Keepers Thumb (Hand), Ganglion, Tendinitis, Tenosynovitis, and Thoracis Outlet Syndrom
  • Lifting Injuries:  These frequently involve the back, shoulder, or neck.  They can be simple strains to serious herniated discs.  More than likely, your accepted injury was classified as a simply strain.  Rarely is the actual injury a simple strain.
  • Twisting Type Injuries:  These can involve the neck, back, and knees.
  • Concussions/head Injuries:  We see these when fork lift type accidents occur or when product falls and hits a person on the head.  We also see these from time to time in slip and falls at work.
  • Fork Lift/Pellet Jack accidents
  • Slip and Falls at work.  Many of these involve snow and ice or because of grease, liquid, or packing contents, such as cardboard or paper, on the floor that causes an injured worker to fall.
  • Machinery.  Usually we see this where a hand, arm, or leg gets  caught on a belt, in a machine, or by a tool.  These can lead to complex issues like Specific Loss.

Again, this list is certainly not exhaustive and your injury may not appear in any of these definitions.  That does not mean you do not have a work injury.

Bottom line is, with more warehouses, distribution center, and fulfillment facilities, work injuries will happen and increase in our area.  Insurance carriers for many of these employers and temporary agency employers deny injuries and hope you just work through it or go away.   Don’t.  Here are three simple steps to take if you are injured on the job:

  1. Tell your employer you were injured at work.  Make sure you are upfront that this happened at work.
  2. Seek medical treatment
  3. Contact Mooney & Associates at 1-877-632-4656.  Your consultation is FREE and we do not get paid unless we win.  It’s that simple!

Do not wait on any of these three steps!

Mooney & Associates has offices located in Chambersburg, Shippensburg, Carlisle, Mercersburg, Duncannon, Halifax, Stewardstown, York, Hanover, Gettysburg, Harrisburg, and New Oxford.  Our attorneys come to the office closest to you.  If you are seriously injured and can’t travel, out attorneys will come to your home or make hospital visits.

Mark Buterbaugh

Attorney representing injured workers and Social Security Disability clients in Pennsylvania and Maryland.