While there are many warehouse injuries that can leave employees out of work in the short or long-term, the risks for those employed in the food and beverage manufacturing industry can vary. For employees at Pepperidge Farm Warehouses, this is a decades-long problem and one that is likely not going anywhere.
If you are employed by a Pepperidge Farm warehouse or another food and beverage manufacturer and become injured, the workers’ compensation attorneys of Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys are here to help.
What is Pepperidge Farm?
Pepperidge Farm is an American commercial bakery founded by Margaret Rudkin. For more than 75 years, the company has been a manufacturer of cookies, crackers, breads, and other baked goods. Pepperidge Farm became a subsidiary of the Campbell Soup Company in the 1960s.
Though based in Norwalk, Connecticut, the company has numerous warehouse locations, including in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Common Food and Beverage Warehouse Injuries
In the 1980s, Pepperidge Farm received a $1.4 million dollar fine from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) for exposing workers to dangerous conditions.
According to the LA Times, the fine was in reference to 50 workers at a Downingtown, Pa. warehouse who developed carpal tunnel syndrome as a repetitive motion injury from putting together sandwich cookies. More than half required surgery to aid in recovery.
This was not the only worker injury issue the company faced as hundreds of other record-keeping and safety issues were recorded.
While machinery has come a long way in the manufacturing business, there are still injuries that employees may face.
Common food and beverage warehouse injuries include:
- Manual handling: Any activity that requires the use of force to lift and lower, carry and pull, or move an object
- Repetitive motion: Any motions that are repeated with minimal variation every few seconds
- Slips, trips, and falls: Falling on any material such as water, oil/grease, grains, etc. or on uneven surfaces resulting in injury
- Machinery hazards: This can include anything from the industrial ovens, stoves, and other kitchen equipment to the use of forklifts and other warehouse equipment that may result in burns, crushed hands, amputations, etc.
- Confined spaces: Common confined spaces in the food and beverage warehouse industry may include silos, tanks, vats, and storage bins. Should an employee fall into or get injured while loading or repairing one of these spaces, tragedy can occur.
- Truck/vehicles: When raw materials to create the product come into a facility, or new products are needed to be shipped out of a warehouse, forklifts and lift trucks will be put to use. However, these vehicles are dangerous if the operator is not experienced or if the space becomes enclosed and carbon monoxide poisoning occurs.
Eligibility For Workers’ Compensation as a Pepperidge Farm Warehouse Employee
Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, employers must carry workers’ compensation coverage for all employees, with exceptions existing for independent contractors.
This includes temporary and part-time employees, as many Pepperidge Farm locations do hire on a part-time basis. This means that even if you are not a full-time worker, you have a right to workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania. However, other states may have varying rules, so be sure to enlist the services of a workers’ compensation attorney to learn about your rights.
However, know that if you become hired as an independent contractor, but have been misclassified and instead behave more in a position of full-time status, you may be able to fight for coverage.
How To File a Workers’ Comp Claim As A Warehouse Employee
Whether you are full-time or part-time, the process for filing a workers’ comp claim is much the same. The first step is to seek medical attention following the accident. If you wait to get treatment, it may hurt the success of your claim. Then, notify your employer and direct warehouse supervisor that the accident occurred. You will need to file a formal accident report. Further, you may have to get an evaluation by a company-approved doctor. You typically have 120 days to report the accident.
Know that if you were hired by a temp agency, you will also need to report the injury to them.
Finally, you will file the workers’ comp claim. Your employer will have to inform their insurance company of the claim. From there, you will receive your first payment within 21 days, or a denial of the claim. In the case of a denial, you can appeal the decision but depending on the case, you may need an attorney.
I’m worried I’ll get fired from Pepperidge Farm for getting hurt. Can they do that?
Under the law, you cannot be retaliated against for filing a workers’ compensation claim. This includes firing, harassment, cut hours, etc. Other rights you have as an employee include:
- To appeal a denied claim
- To receive medical treatment
- To receive workers’ comp benefits you qualify for in a timely manner
- To utilize the legal representation of a workers’ comp attorney
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
You are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits starting your first day on the job. In general, workers’ compensation benefits may cover the costs associated with:
- Lost wages
- Medical costs
- Disability benefits
- Funeral expenses in the case of wrongful death
Remember, you are entitled to these benefits despite your previous medical or physical condition and, in many cases, regardless if you were at some level of fault for the accident.
Specific medical coverage under workers’ comp policies may include:
- Services by physicians or other health care providers
- Surgical and medical procedures
- Hospital treatment and related services and supplies
- Prescription drugs and supplies
- Orthopedic devices and related supplies
What Does Workers’ Compensation Not Cover?
Under Pennsylvania law, workers’ compensation does not cover losses for pain and suffering, nor does it provide job security in the event of an injury.
Further, if you are part of a collective bargaining agreement, certain contract benefits may not be continued.
Injured at a Pepperidge Farm Warehouse? Call Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys.
At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, our workers’ compensation attorneys are well-versed in warehouse and heavy machinery accidents. If you suffered minor or life-threatening injuries at a Pepperidge Farm warehouse or another food and beverage manufacturer that has resulted in time off, lost wages, and medical bills, a workers’ comp attorney can help you.
Our lawyers will review the facts of your case, guide you through the initial workers’ comp filing process, or help you petition the courts and your employer if your claim is denied. No matter your status as a full-time, part-time, or temporary employee, you are entitled to benefits without fear of retaliation.
For a no-obligation, free consultation, contact the workers’ compensation attorneys of Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys today by calling 570-209-5514 or by contacting us online.
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