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Temporary workers and workers' injuries -- do you have rights?

There have always been much concern and uncertainty for temporary workers about their rights in the event of an on-the-job injury. Are they covered by workers' compensation, and are they entitled to the protection of the safety regulations as prescribed by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration? California workers may be interested to learn that OSHA has recently been scrutinizing the safety of temporary workers in an effort to avoid workers' injuries.

In most cases, the agency that supplies the host employer with temporary staff carries the workers' compensation insurance. However, the host employer is responsible for providing safe work environments for permanent and temporary workers. An area of confusion remains the training of workers, and an example is a case where a temporary worker was killed in a workplace accident barely two hours after he reported for duty. The host employer expected the agency to provide trained workers while the agency assumed that training would be provided on site. The bottom line is that site-specific training is required for any new worker -- temporary or permanent.

Employers should treat all workers equally, regardless of their employment status. This includes the provision of personal protection equipment, safety training and even required evaluation and testing such as audiometric testing. Despite the regular comings and goings of temporary workers, all required procedures valid for permanent workers are also valid for temporary workers. In the event of an injury, the host employer should report it to OSHA and to the agency that supplied the worker. Communication between the agency and host employer is vital if special instructions related to work abilities are issued by medical caregivers upon the worker's return to work.

Temporary workers in California who have suffered workers' injuries, may be unsure of how to proceed. They may find the support and knowledge of an experienced workers' compensation attorney invaluable. In addition to explaining your rights, the attorney will guide you through the claims process and endeavor to obtain full and fair compensation to ensure your ongoing financial stability.

Source: ehstoday.com, "SLC 2014: They're Not My Employees! (and Other Mistakes Employers Make)", Sandy Smith, Oct. 28, 2014

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