Temporary workers are vulnerable to workplace injury and financial harm, according to a new study conducted by three Temple University law students. Temp workers are 72 percent more likely to be injured on the job than regular full-time employees, according to an additional ProPublica analysis of Workers’ Compensation claims in five states. The study’s authors suggest that this is due to the tendency of staffing agencies to not take responsibility for proper training and other safety requirements. Government officials, employment attorneys, worker advocates, and temporary workers were all interviewed for the report. The report concludes that stricter rules are necessary to protect temporary workers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly three million workers are employed by staffing agencies in the United States. These temp workers tend to be young, inexperienced, and in need of training. However, host employers often contract away training duties to the staffing agencies, who then look for ways to cut corners. The host employer then denies responsibility for any resulting temp worker injuries.
How to Better Protect Temp Workers
Temp workers may fear retaliation for reporting hazards and have even described being scared to ask for safety gloves. Temp workers also face financial harm, often being denied minimum wage and required to meet in changing locations to receive their pay. An AFL-CIO report reveals that nearly 5.7 million workers are assigned to 54 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors responsible for their safety oversight. These companies therefore face a small chance of being inspected. If they are, OSHA fines are often relatively small, according to the Temple University report.
The study’s authors suggest a few ways to better protect temp workers from workplace injuries and financial harm. First, they recommend more studies on the issue that will lead to a broader scope of understanding. Second, mandated transparency measures, such as registration, verification, and clarification of obligations between host employers, staffing agencies, and temp workers may increase accountability. Third, host employers should not be able to avoid accountability for temp worker injuries by contracting with staffing companies. Finally, retaliation should not be acceptable. The study’s authors call for proactive investigation by enforcement agencies into workplaces where temp workers are least likely to report workplace violations.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Temporary Workers
If you suffered an injury on the job, contact an experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. Our experienced, knowledgeable legal team understand the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation system and can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 803-929-3600 to schedule your free, confidential consultation.
We represent clients in the communities of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout South Carolina including Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.