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Temp Workers More Likely To Be Hurt on the Job

Florida Work Accident Attorneys

Blue-collar temporary work has become one of the most hazardous categories of jobs in the nation since the recession as companies increasingly rely on temp workers for factories, warehouses and construction sites. Today the temp industry employs 2.8 million workers.

While this trend comes with many conveniences for businesses, workers often pay the price.

The public interest news organization ProPublica recently published an in-depth report on accidents involving temporary workers. ProPublica interviewed more than 100 temporary workers around the country and analyzed more than 50 Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports regarding workplace injuries to temp employees.

It found that temporary employees are more likely to get hurt on the job than their permanent counterparts in five states encompassing more than a fifth of the U.S. population. Temp workers in Florida and California, two of the largest states, are approximately 50 percent more at risk of job-related injury than those who have permanent positions. The chance of being hurt is 36 percent higher in Massachusetts, 66 percent higher in Oregon and 72 percent higher in Minnesota.

Throughout the country, temp workers tend to perform difficult work in dangerous industries including manufacturing and warehousing. With these positions, the possibility of injury increases significantly.

Florida has some alarming statistics. Temp employees in blue-collar environments were about six times more likely to be injured than permanent workers who performed similar jobs, ProPublica found. In addition, temps were twice as likely as permanent employees to suffer crushing injuries, dislocations, lacerations, fractures and punctures. Temp workers in Florida were roughly three times more vulnerable to amputations on the job.

Fewer Protections for Temp Workers

Based on the OSHA documents and individual interviews, ProPublica discovered a troubling practice involving temp workers. They often are assigned unsafe jobs with little or no training. Because the workers are temporary, companies overseeing their work are not required to pay any medical bills if any injuries occur. When a worker is hurt, the temp firm and the company often point fingers at each other about who’s responsible, which can delay emergency care.

As companies opt for temporary workers instead of permanent employees, protection on the job has slowly deteriorated. Temporary workers enable companies to avoid higher insurance premiums for workers’ compensation. When temporary workers get hurt, the temp agency pays workers’ comp despite the fact that it does not have much or even any say in the actual job sites.

Temp workers in blue-collar industries are usually manual laborers, not supervisors and skilled technicians. Therefore, the injury rate is higher.

Statistics show that this problem is only getting worse. During the past five years, injury claims by temp workers have increased in Florida, California, Oregon and Massachusetts. The claims of permanent employees have remained at the same rate or decreased.

Not only are temp workers at greater risk of injury, but they are also more worried about reporting when they are hurt. If they tell their temp agency about their injuries, there is the very real chance they could be blacklisted. Workers in Florida who are hurt on the job as a result of an unsafe workplace or another’s disregard for safety should discuss their legal rights with a qualified personal injury attorney