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Guidelines for Improving Temp Worker Safety

Temporary workers face some of the most dangerous working conditions. There are several reasons for the risk of injury. Temp workers are often in high-risk industries like manufacturing, factories, farming, and construction. These worker are often not treated as employees and are denied basic training that could increase the risk of injury or wrongful death. Given the dangerous nature of temporary workers, OSHA and other workers’ rights advocacy groups are making efforts to ramp up safety for temporary workers. Improving working conditions, including safety protocols, equipment, and training could help to reduce the number of accidents that temporary workers face when on the job.

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According to a recent report by Pro Publica, temporary work is one of the fastest growing segments of the economy. Despite the large sector of the economy, the injury rates have been rising while regulatory measures have remained relatively stagnant. For companies, relying on a temporary work force can be an economically viable alternative to hiring. Businesses can hire workers on a daily basis and eliminate costs for insurance, workers’ compensation and unemployment taxes. The availability is a huge advantage for companies, while putting America’s workforce at risk. Our workplace accident attorneys are dedicated to raising awareness to improve safety and prevent future accidents and injury.

While the government has not enacted legislation to confront the growing problem of temporary worker accidents, injury and wrongful death, here are some of the recommendations and regulation proposals to improve safety conditions for U.S. temporary workers:

Better record keeping. When companies report injuries, the Labor Department survey does not require them to indicate whether the victim was a temporary or permanent worker. New regulations would require a checkbox for companies to indicate whether the worker was full or part time. This proposal would give federal record keepers a better understanding of the scope of temp worker injury and death. Some officials argue that a change to the form would require significant hurdles.

Targeted inspections. Worker advocates argue that OSHA can improve safety by targeting companies that frequently use temporary laborers. Temp firms should be required to inspect worksites to ensure that workers are appropriately trained and that they are not working in dangerous conditions.

Improved training. One of the biggest dangers faced by temporary workers is that they are not properly trained to operate equipment or to navigate the premises. Earlier this year OSHA launched an initiative to investigate whether temporary workers are receiving proper training.

Right-to-Know-Law. Massachusetts passed the Temporary Workers Right-to-Know Law which requires temp agencies to give workers basic information on pay, legal working arrangements and safety equipment. Other states have been advised to adopt similar laws to give temporary workers information and leverage to prevent future accidents and injury.

Despite these proposals before OSHA, changing regulations often take a couple years. It can be very controversial for the agency to make any significant changes because big business lobbyists often impede the regulatory process. According to reports, the last time OSHA made a change to the logs was in 2001. Workers’ rights advocates groups and public health groups agree that OSHA, Congress, and temporary agencies should be making additional efforts to improve worker safety.

Call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim– 1-888-367-2900.

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Massachusetts Work Injuries to Increase with Improving Economy, November 28, 2013.