Nearly three million workers in the United States are considered to be temporary workers, making up more than 10 percent of the national workforce. What’s more, with the rise of the gig economy, more than one-third of the total workforce is involved in at least part-time gig work, such as freelance writing or full-time photography, and a good deal of these workers utilize the services of staffing agencies when it comes to finding steady work.
But whether someone is a freelance graphic designer or a construction foreman hired out by a staffing firm, one question that staffing workers have revolves around their rights and coverages when it comes to injuries sustained on the job.
So, what are these risks, how can temporary workers be injured and how can the staffing agencies they work with be protected against claims?
Risks of Temporary Workers
Temporary workers are an attractive option for employers looking to save on benefits and pay, and paying out insurance. However, if the employer is satisfied with a temporary worker’s overall performance, they usually hire them full-time after enough hours are earned or a contract is coming to an end.
Some employers choose to use staffing agencies because they have more strenuous jobs and tasks that need to be done and they do not want their employees taking care of these tasks. Most of the time, temporary workers are not considered employees, so the employer does not have to worry about insurance claims or a hit on its own workers’ compensation record.
However, this could give way to potential injuries and a higher risk for physical exposure. Since a temporary worker is more likely to go from job to job, they may not be well-versed in specific safety protocols and guidelines.
For those who work in more hazardous sites, such as construction workers, electricians, or plumbers, they could see a wide range of injuries facing them practically every day. Some of the most common injuries on the job for these workers include trips and falls, being hit on the head, falling debris, stepping on nails, being shocked by wires, or being hit by moving objects.
For temporary workers who find work in office environments or creative fields, they face their own unique risks. These include trips and falls, carpal tunnel problems, eye strain, neck and back problems, and mental stress.
When these workers are injured on the job, they will need some form of coverage to kick in to pay out workers’ compensation benefits. Regardless of their injury, it’s important that the Staffing agency they worked through to get the job be set with its own workers’ compensation coverage. The law in each state may vary with some states requiring the staffing agency to maintain protection over workers they employ, while others require the employer to provide this kind of coverage. In general, it’s known that the staffing agency is responsible for maintaining this kind of coverage.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), temporary employers are required to provide a safe working environment for the workers they place. This can include the responsibility of controlling and correcting workplace risks and hazards to which the workers are openly exposed to as well as training workers on safety and conducting hazard assessments.
Temporary agencies are responsible for keeping medical records related to accidents and reporting any accidents and injuries to OSHA, which also requires the placement employer and the staffing agency to share the responsibility of investigating accidents that end up causing lost time.
Staffing agencies that place workers in specific areas that are connected with higher rates of injuries, such as construction or contracting, may be required by law to register with the state’s Department of Labor.
About Monarch Partners Group, LLC
For more than 30 years, Monarch Partners Group (MPG) and affiliate Nationwide Employer Services LLC have focused on providing Workers’ Compensation insurance solutions for distressed risks and industries. Our long-term history and expertise in the space and market sources enable us to find solutions for business owners and brokers that they may otherwise not have access to. We write Workers’ Compensation coverage for all types of risks in all states with solutions that Employer Organization (PEO), Employer Of Record (EOR) and Captive Insurance programs. To learn more about our products and services, contact us today at (855) 435-5153.