SAFETY & HEALTH
Temp workers in high hazard industries are twice as likely to be injured.
Millions of Americans will continue to be put at unnecessary risk until there are fundamental changes to the current system of temporary work. As temporary employment in the U.S. grows, so does the need to protect these vulnerable workers.
This health and safety crisis has been going on largely unnoticed for decades, as OSHA incident reporting did not examine the employment status of injured workers. Only recently has public awareness started to grow as organizations across the country have identified the issue. Groups like the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH), the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH), and the U.S. Department of Labor (OSHA) launched major initiatives.
Challenges persist despite these efforts. By the very nature of who they are, "temps" are often treated as "disposable assets" and do not receive the same training and protection as their permanent counterparts. Temps are less likely to speak up about unsafe conditions, and often fear reporting them as they work without any job security. And when temp workers are injured on the job. their injuries tend to be more severe. Adding insult to injury, there are few consequences for employers, and almost no consequences for staffing agencies.
David Eleidjian was a veteran of the Iraqi War, and was 26-years-old when he left behind a young daughter. He was crushed and killed when he was pulled into a machine that had been modified to speed up production with the removal of protective guarding. The oversized clothing he was issued at work was snagged on a moving part and pulled him in on 4/15/2013. The OSHA investigation found multiple "willful" violations. His employer HR Comp LLC was fined $1,500.
Lawrence "Day" Davis was 21-years-old and the responsible, adored big brother in his family. He was crushed and killed 90 minutes into his first day on the job on 8/16/2012. He was not trained and was working around dangerous machinery in an environment where normal safety procedures were ignored as a matter of company policy. The OSHA investigation found multiple "willful" violations. His employer, Remedy Intelligent Staffing (part of the Employbridge family of companies) was NOT fined or cited. Remedy Intelligent Staffing has continued to place employees at the worksite.
Samir Story was 39-years-old and left behind a wife and three children. He was killed on his first day on the job when he was asphyxiated cleaning the inside of a chemical tank on 1/22/2013. It was the second serious accident within a year at this workplace. Samir and the other temp workers were given the answers to a required safety test by their instructor, instead of proper training. The OSHA investigation found 7 violations. His employer Tradesmen International was NOT fined.
PROTECTING TEMPORARY WORKERS
Training and Activism
Local workers' organizations across the country have stepped up their outreach and training for temporary workers. This includes general industry training, specific skill training, and Know-Your-Rights workshops that empower workers. New Labor, a New Brunswick, NJ based community organization, has conducted their own worksite safety inspections as violations can be too prevalent for government monitoring to keep up with.
Government Outreach & Enforcement
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) launch the Temporary Worker Initiative (TWI) in 2013 to begin to address the safety & health epidemic for temporary workers. As part of the TWI, resources and recommended guidelines have been created for staffing agencies and host employers to improve compliance with existing laws and to create safer workplaces. SEE OSHA'S SITE HERE >>>>
SAFTEY RESOURCES FOR TEMPORARY WORKERS
Recommended Practices: Protecting Temporary Workers >>>
OSHA / NIOSH
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommend these practices to staffing agencies and host employers so that they may better protect temporary workers through mutual cooperation and collaboration. SEE MORE >>>
Examining the Injuries of Temporary Help Agency Workers >>>
Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, Brian Zaidman
Temporary workers in Minnesota were more than twice as likely to suffer an injury that required them to file a workers' compensation report. Injuries were concentrated in the industries of transportation/material moving and production. Trends indicate the workforce is growing in the state and that the injury rates are getting worse compared to other populations. SEE MORE >>>
Occupational Health and Safety of Temporary and Agency Workers >>>
University of Leicester (UK), Benjamin Hopkins
A comparison of directly hired temporary workers and temporary workers provided by a third-party staffing agency finds worse experiences for the staffing agency workers, even though both populations had precarious, short-term employment. These experiences include inadequate safety training, poor quality personal protective equipment and a lack of clarity of supervisory roles. SEE MORE >>>
Temporary Jobs and the Severity of Workplace Accidents >>>
Journal of Safety Research. Picchio & van Ours
Analyzing European data, research finds that temporary workers are more likely to be injured overall. They are more likely to suffer severe injures than permanent workers, and temporary workers are less likely to report their more minor injuries. SEE MORE >>>
Invisible Workers: Health Risks for Temporary Agency Workers >>>
Montreal Department of Public Health
The risk of occupational injury is categorized "between high and extreme" for workers from temporary help services and professional employer organizations (PEO). Despite underreporting by temporary workers in Quebec, data finds that they are significantly more likely to be injured, especially true of traumatic accidents and musculoskeletal injuries. SEE MORE >>>
Temporary Workers in Washington State >>>
Journal of Industrial Medicine. Smith, Silverstein, Bonauto, Adams & Fan
Based on comprehensive data from Washington state, temporary agency workers had higher rates of injury for all injury types and lost more time at work, but had lower time loss costs and lower medical costs than standard workers. Temporary agency workers had substantially higher rates for ‘‘caught in’’ and ‘‘struck by’’ injuries in the construction and manufacturing. SEE MORE >>>
Investigations of Temporary Workers: Findings and Use in Guidance >>>
NIOSH / CDC
The Division of Safety Research analysis of fatal incident investigations that led to the creation of the NIOSH/OSHA Recommended Practices for Protecting Temporary Workers. Includes links to case reports on 39 fatalities from 14 states involving temporary workers. SEE MORE >>>