As part of the United States Department of Labor,
the mission of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is “to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working
men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training,
outreach, education, and assistance.” OSHA’s rules and regulations
are intended to reduce on-the-job illnesses, injuries, and fatalities.
While some workplace accidents are covered by worker’s compensation,
others are not. One of the biggest factors in determining how a worker’s
injuries are covered is the worker’s status with the employer.
According to OSHA, temporary staffing agencies and host employers share control over the
worker, and are therefore jointly responsible for temporary workers'
safety and health.
Staffing agencies have a duty to determine:
- what conditions exist at their host employers,
- what hazards temporary workers may encounter, and
- how best to ensure protection for their temporary workers.
Host employers must treat temporary workers like any other workers in terms
of training and safety and health protections.
Workers have a right to a safe workplace and can report concerns to OSHA
by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
A temporary worker placed by a staffing agency into a position at a host
company is typically not an employee of the company. Instead, the general
rule is that the agency is responsible for carrying workers’ compensation
coverage. However, there are many instances where the temp firm and their
client, the host company, grapple over who is liable when a temp worker
gets hurt – sometimes even causing medical care to be delayed while
they sort it out.
Temporary workers are commonplace in several industries, notably construction
and manufacturing, with
employment rates as high as 3.17 million people. A recent analysis of millions of workers’ compensation claims over
a five-year period
revealed that in Florida, temporary workers had about a 50 percent greater risk of being injured
on the job than permanent workers. Florida data also showed that temporary
employees in blue-collar workplaces were about six times more likely to
be injured than permanent employees doing similar jobs and that these
blue-collar temps tended to be manual laborers who have higher injury
rates than those experienced by supervisors and skilled technicians. Temps
here were about three times more likely than regular employees to suffer
an amputation on the job and twice as likely to suffer crushing injuries,
dislocations, lacerations, fractures, and punctures.
The analysis determined that the claims rate of temp workers increased
in Florida during that five-year period while that of regular workers
held steady or fell. It is generally believed that temp worker injuries
are underreported due to fears of being blacklisted by the staffing agency.
Injury reports have been known to be used as a reason for a host company
to tell an agency not to send a worker again. The more “Do Not Return”
marks a worker gets, the less likely he or she will be assigned. Temp
workers also might be less likely to report injures due to ignorance of
Temp work in certain industries is particularly dangerous. Some of that
danger can be traced to inadequate training, since many temporary positions
are in new environments, operating unfamiliar machinery or performing
unfamiliar tasks. Another issue uncovered by OSHA is that it is common
for temps to work without proper protective equipment. Further, temps
are encouraged to cut corners to keep production on time.
We Can Help
Both the temp agency and the host company are responsible for the safety
of temporary workers. If you are trying to put your life back together
after a work-related injury or if you have lost a loved one in a fatal
workplace accident, trust your case to the attorneys at Stabinski &
Funt, P.A. For 45 years, we have advocated for countless personal injury
victims and their families throughout South Florida. We offer risk-free
consultations and work on a contingency basis, which means that we do
not require you to pay any fees until we have secured a recovery on your
behalf. If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to contact
us by calling 305-964-8644 or
filling out a free case evaluation form.