Pennsylvania workers may be surprised to learn that temporary workers make up approximately 2.8 percent of the workforce, and they have little or no protection when they are hurt at work. These workers are often told to report any workplace injuries to the temporary-labor companies that placed them, but these companies have no obligation to keep an OSHA 300, which is a form that logs workplace injuries. Many advocacy groups feel that the number of accidents is grossly underreported.
According to the Chicago Workers’ Collaborative, many temporary workers make approximately $11,000 per year and lack sick leave, vacation time and health insurance. Workers who perform manual labor such as furniture moving or assembly line work are at higher risk of injury, and since OSHA tends not to protect temporary workers, they are often poorly prepared for on-the-job hazards.
The National Council on Occupational Safety and Health is urging OSHA to consider some guidelines that they created with other labor and safety groups. These guidelines clearly state the responsibilities of the host employer and the temporary agencies that do the hiring. The main idea is to require both companies to establish standards for workplace safety. Another thing that the groups recommended is a comprehensive inspection process for the workplace with outreach to workers to inform them of their rights. OSHA has said that there are plans for the agency to intensify its regulatory actions for the temporary industry.
Temporary workers who are injured on the job may feel that they have few options for recourse, but a serious injury may leave them unable to work. In some cases, an attorney may assist these employees by investigating the cause of the injury and negotiating a settlement with the workers’ compensation insurance carrier that should cover medical bills and lost wages.
Source: Huffington Post, “A New Day, A New Danger: Temp Workers Face Safety Hazards at Work“, Michelle Chen, December 04, 2013