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Temporary worker safety a growing concern

While full-time and part-time employees have the benefits of training and knowledge of safety regulations, the temporary workers who sometimes fill their positions often begin a job without any of this knowledge. It is estimated that temporary employees make up about 2.8 percent of the workforce, and this number is growing due to the reluctance of companies to add new employees or deal with benefits and contracts. These workers often fill in when someone is on vacation or sick leave, and they may have little to no training or information about the position that they are filling.

As a result of the failure of many companies to adequately train temporary staff, injuries are not uncommon, and they may not be properly reported. Many temporary agencies have employees report injuries to them instead of the organization that they are working for, but since the law does not require an OSHA Form 300 log from staffing agencies, these incidents may be being swept under the rug.

There has been growing concern about the safety of temporary employees and the lack of accountability on the part of temp agencies and the companies that use them. The National Council on Occupational Safety and Health, an advocacy organization, has worked with a number of other groups to provide suggested guidelines to OSHA. These groups point out that many jobs require extensive training that temporary workers are not receiving.

Even if someone is not a direct employee of an organization, they may still be able to benefit from workers' compensation if they are injured. Additionally, if someone has been harmed due to lack of training, carelessness or the failure to implement safety regulations at a workplace, they may also have legal recourse against the organization that they were working for.

Source: Huffington Post, "A New Day, A New Danger: Temp Workers Face Safety Hazards at Work", Michelle Chen, December 04, 2013

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