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Temporary workers face higher risk of workplace accident

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If you are a temporary worker, you may not realize that workers' compensation laws do not always apply to your individual situation. In fact, a growing number of companies that are employing temporary workers -- in office settings and even manufacturing plants -- are being cited by Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials. Temporary workers face heightened risk for on-the-job injury for a variety of reasons; paramount among those: The fact that temp workers generally are not properly trained.

One of the most disconcerting statistics is the rise in "first-day fatalities," which occur on a worker's first day on site. Texas residents may be familiar with the case of the 20-year-old worker at a Bacardi Bottling facility who was crushed to death on his first day at work. That incident sparked a series of massive penalties, but it also prompted additional awareness about the safety of contractors and temporary workers.

A slew of recent workplace accidents throughout the nation have drawn attention to this growing problem. Representatives from safety groups say that new workers are far more likely to be injured on the job -- the same principles apply to temporary workers. Those who only visit a site once or twice a year may not be familiar with safety protocol or even the basic hazards that are located at specific work locations.

Temporary workers should know that they have the right to protection under OSHA mandates. Even though you may be employed by a staffing agency, you still deserve training to prevent fatal work accidents. Your staffing agency may be required to provide general safety training, but host employers are also responsible for giving you the heads-up about workplace hazards at every location.

No family should have to suffer through the work-related death of their relative. Employers and the government are taking action to protect vulnerable temporary employees, but danger still exists. Those who have suffered the loss of a loved one may be entitled to workers' compensation survivor benefits.

Source: EHS Today, "Safety 2014: OSHA Focusing on Protecting Temporary Workers" Josh Cable, Jul. 03, 2014

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