Temporary Workers Face Higher Risk of Workplace Injuries

Olga Pierce, Jeff Larson, and Michael Grabell of ProPublica, a non-profit organization that provides high-quality, investigative journalism, brought some disturbing facts about temporary work to light in an article titled “Temporary Work, Lasting Harm.”

According to ProPublica’s analysis of workers’ compensation claims across the United States, temp workers in high-risk states like California and Florida are 50% more likely to be injured on the job than permanent employees. Worse still, the nature of the injuries suffered by temp workers are far more serious. A review of workers’ comp claims in Florida revealed that temps were more likely to suffer severe trauma, such as fractures, punctures, and crushing injuries.

Why this startling discrepancy in the rate of injury?

When a permanent employee is injured, companies find themselves paying higher insurance premiums and footing the bill for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. When a temporary worker is injured, the recruiting agency pays for any workers’ comp, leaving the company with no incentive to properly train its workers and enforce safety procedures.

And that’s the best case scenario. In many instances, the temp firm and the company fight over who should pay workers’ comp costs, delaying the delivery of vital medical care until the issue is resolved.

If we know all of this, why aren’t lawmakers working to protect temp workers? It’s not for lack of trying. Concerned policymakers find that they are hard-pressed to make any real changes because there simply isn’t enough evidence. Although it tracks most industries, the federal government doesn’t keep tabs on injury rates for temporary workers.

There is progress—but it comes at a price. Rather than enacting proactive safety policies, many companies who hire temp workers often scramble to enforce life-saving measures after tragedy strikes—and after “business as usual” takes a financial toll.

If you’ve suffered an injury at the workplace, contact Georgia workers’ compensation attorney Michael Moebes at (404) 354-5432 for a free consultation.

 

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