Thursday, December 19, 2013
Temporary Work More Harmful For Workers
Taken from a lengthy article here the research done by ProPublica coupled with
information from many of the Occupational Safety and Health Adminstration's investigations reveal the grave conditions attached to being a temporary worker in the US. The evidence shows conditions continue to worsen. For information on individual examples see the link above.
A ProPublica analysis of millions of workers’ compensation claims shows that in five states, representing more than a fifth of the U.S. population, temps face a significantly greater risk of getting injured on the job than permanent employees.
In California and Florida, two of the largest states, temps had about 50 percent greater risk of being injured on the job than non-temps. That risk was 36 percent higher in Massachusetts, 66 percent in Oregon and 72 percent in Minnesota.
Nationwide, temps are far more likely to find jobs in dangerous occupations like manufacturing and warehousing. And their likelihood of injury grows dramatically. In Florida, for example, temps in blue-collar workplaces were about six times as likely to be injured than permanent employees doing similar jobs.
The findings were particularly stark for severe injuries. In Florida, the data shows, temps were about twice as likely as regular employees to suffer crushing injuries, dislocations, lacerations, fractures and punctures. They were about three times as likely to suffer an amputation on the job in Florida and the three other states for which such records are available.
ProPublica interviewed more than 100 temp workers across the nation and reviewed more than 50 Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigations involving temp worker accidents.
The interviews and OSHA files revealed situations that occur over and over again: untrained laborers asphyxiated while cleaning the inside of chemical tanks, caught in heavy machinery such as food grinders and tire shredders, and afflicted by heat stroke after a long day on a garbage truck or roof.
The lightly regulated blue-collar temp world is one where workers are often sent to do dangerous jobs with little or no training. Where the company overseeing the work isn’t required to pay the medical bills if temps get hurt. And where, when temp workers do get injured on the job, the temp firm and the company fight with each other over who is responsible, sometimes even delaying emergency medical care while they sort it out.
The growing reliance on temps subverts one of the strongest incentives for companies to protect workers. The workers’ comp system was designed to encourage safety through economic pressure; companies with higher injury rates pay higher insurance premiums. Hiring temp workers shields companies from those costs. If a temp worker gets hurt, the temp agency pays the workers’ comp, even though it has little or no control over job sites.
OSHA director David Michaels said he has been alarmed by the number of temp workers being killed on their first day on the job. Earlier this year, he launched an initiative to raise awareness about the dangers temp workers face and employers’ responsibilities. But despite growing concern about temp workers’ safety, regulators and lawmakers have struggled to make major changes, in part because they lack basic data, such as whether temps get injured more than regular workers. Unlike the way it monitors every other industry, the federal government does not keep injury statistics on temp agency workers.