In the downtrodden economy, millions of Americans have lost their jobs and many of them are forced into temporary positions or “temp work” through staffing agencies. A recent analysis by ProPublica shows that not only are many of these workers exploited, but they are also facing more dangerous work conditions than permanent employees. In some cases, temporary workers are injured or have lost their lives within days of being on the job. For victims and their families, collecting workers’ compensation benefits can be even more challenging or impossible.
According to research temporary workers are 36% more likely to get hurt or die on the job in Massachusetts. Blue collar temps are more likely to find dangerous job conditions in manufacturing and working in warehouses. Our workplace accident attorneys are experienced with investigating work-related accidents and protecting the rights of workers. We are also committed to raising awareness on workplace dangers to prevent future accidents and injury.
Many of the accidents are related to inadequate training in manufacturing and warehousing jobs. According to ProPublica research, companies with higher rates of injury must pay higher insurance premiums. With risk of injury and higher costs, these companies have an incentive to properly train employees. Temp agencies that don’t have control over the worksite are responsible for paying workers’ compensation, but they have no responsibility over training. According to the study, the rate of temp worker injury is on the rise, even when many of the injuries have gone underreported. There are instances of temporary workers getting “blacklisted” by agencies after reporting a work-related injury.
Desperate to find work, many industrial or manufacturing temp workers will not report injuries that could prevent them from finding work in the future. For researchers and employee advocates, it is suspected that the rates of injuries are much higher than initial reports. Recent cases of temp work injuries and fatalities include a Bacardi factory employee who was crushed to death and other cases involving a temp worker who suffered from hydrogen sulfide exposure, another who was run over by a trash compactor, and an employee who died of heat stroke.
The federal agency charged with regulating work-place safety, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has launched an initiative to protect temp workers. The agency is investigating hiring companies to find out if the employers using temp employees are actually meeting safety regulations and properly training works. In some cases, the agency has seen workers who died within a few days of being on the job.
Employee advocates are reminding employers that temp workers should be treated as permanent employers. Both staffing agencies and employers are responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of an employee. They are jointly responsible and should be held jointly liable in the event of an accident or injury. While the workers’ compensation system is intended to protect workers, it could also be a disservice when companies can evade responsibility through temping agencies. Temp workers who have been injured on the job should consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to explore their rights and recovery options, including third-party claims.
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim– 1-888-367-2900.
More Blog Entries:
OSHA Proposes Better Accident Reporting for Safer Workplaces, November 16, 2013.
Updated Work-Safety Regulations Critical to Modernized Workforces, November 24, 2013.