Tags: ProPublica | temp | workers | permanent

ProPublica: Temp Work Is Dangerous as Well as Insecure

By    |   Friday, 20 December 2013 07:33 AM

Temporary workers face a much greater risk of getting hurt on the job than do permanent workers, a ProPublica analysis shows.

In fact, many are hurt within their first three months on the job, and some die at within their first few days.

Temps are about 50 percent more likely to be injured in California and Florida than permanent workers are, 36 percent more likely in Massachusetts, 66 percent in Oregon and 72 percent in Minnesota, according to ProPublica's review of workers' compensation claims in those five states.

Editor’s Note:
Opinion: Retirees to Be Hit With Social Security Cuts

Blue-collar temps are more likely to find work in more dangerous occupations in manufacturing and warehousing. Lack of training is a major problem, according to the independent nonprofit.

Under the workers' compensation system, companies with higher injury rates pay higher insurance premiums, encouraging them to employ training safety measures. But temp agencies, which have little or no control over the worksite, pays the temp workers' compensation.

Researching temp worker injuries nationwide was not possible, as many states are unwilling to release data or do not separate temp and permanent worker injury rates.

The study finds that temp workers' injuries are increasing, even though the injuries are likely under-reported because the temps risk being blacklisted by their agency.

"So that’s a huge disincentive to report. I think the number of temp workers who report is really low. I think it’s the tip of the iceberg," Linda Forst, an environmental and occupational health sciences professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told ProPublica.

ProPublica profiled a young man who was crushed to death at a Bacardi factory and listed others who suffocated from hydrogen sulfide exposure, were caught in a hummus grinder, run over by a trash compactor, and died of heat stroke.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched an initiative to protect temp workers, directing its regional administrators to find if employers using temps are meeting safety regulations and properly training the workers.
The agency has "received a series of reports" of temps dying at work, often in their first few days at work.

"Host employers need to treat temporary workers as they treat existing employees," stated David Michaels, assistant secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. "Temporary staffing agencies and host employers share control over the employee, and are therefore jointly responsible for temp employee's safety and health."

Editor’s Note: Opinion: Retirees to Be Hit With Social Security Cuts

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Temporary workers face a much greater risk of getting hurt on the job than do permanent workers, a ProPublica analysis shows.
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2013-33-20
Friday, 20 December 2013 07:33 AM
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