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Dangers that Temporary Employees Face in the Workplace

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Why do companies even hire temporary workers? The environment and circumstances around temporary employees have changed drastically over the last few decades. Temp workers were once the solution to filling a position for an employee who was on disability, maternity leave, or any other leave of absence. Then they started filling the labor gap for seasonal employment.

Now, many employers using temp workers will use them as standard employees for weeks or months at a time. The at-will nature and agreement between the two allow the employee or employer at any time to decide that the relationships aren’t working. The temp worker doesn't lose their job. They just get a new assignment while the employer gets a quick replacement.

Employers are using temp employees to take the stress and demands off of their Human Resources staff, and the results are unsettling. Too often, temp workers face greater dangers and have less protection than actual employees.

Lack of Training

The industrial industry, including warehouse and manufacturing work, is the largest sector of temp workers. That means that more temp employees are working in very dangerous environments. But, there's a very clear issue here, lack of training.

One outstanding example of this issue is reviewed thoroughly in the documentary, “A Day’s Work.” The documentary chronicles a particular employee and a few other instances where the industrial employer did not train the employee for more than a few minutes before putting them to work with a dangerous machine or chemicals.

In the primary focus of the documentary, the temporary worker died within hours of his first day on the job at a Bacardi bottling facility. The accident of Day Davis and hundreds, possibly thousands, or other accidents are all avoidable with proper training.

Standard employees in these facilities will often go through "lockout, tag out" training, and extensive safety training over the course of their probationary period. Temporary employees, however, can't miss a beat, they must show up and jump right into the fray with the productivity of a well-trained employee.

Materials Handling

In an industrial setting, employees may handle dangerous materials, some of which may even require Hazmat certification. However, many companies will exploit the temp workers' lack of knowledge about required certifications to handle a variety of jobs that they aren't actually approved to do.

The temp agencies should provide the worker with a list of approved duties; however, many temp workers have a "yes" attitude. Essentially, these workers will often do what the present manager tells them to do because they don't know that saying "no" is an option. Then there's also the fear that if they refuse to do a particular task, it could lead to dismissal from the temp agency and leave them without a job.

Who is Responsible?

Is the company responsible or a temporary employment agency? For a long period of time, it was neither if that's believable. OSHA found this gap in recent years and has put an initiative into place to protect temp workers with a shared fault approach.

The Temporary Worker Initiative first launched in 2013 with the goal of preventing temporary worker injuries, illnesses, and deaths. This initiative changed how OSHA investigated and processed temporary worker injuries and claims. In the past, there was a major gap which left the temp agency responsible, but clearly not responsible for the machinery or policies which led to the accident. Now, OSHA considers both entities as employers or “joint employers” that share responsibility for safety, training, and accident resolution.

When Should You Call a Worker’s Comp Attorney?

Although an attorney isn't always a person's first choice for conflict resolution when it comes to these cases, it's often necessary. Temporary workers that have been with the agency for some time will have an entitlement to workers' compensation even though they may not have been at that location for an extended period of time; they still need to access coverage for injuries on the job.

Working with a worker’s comp attorney in Cincinnati is your first step towards getting financial compensation for your injury.

Find a Workers Comp Attorney That Can Help

At Young, Reverman, and Mazzei, our attorneys fight for all injured workers in the Cincinnati area, and that includes temporary employees. When first applying for worker's comp, you may not have a clear line of sight for who to list as your employer and how to explain that your injury occurred on another employer's property.

Our attorneys will help you with the application, appeals, and an ALJ hearing.

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