Studies Show that Blue Collar Temp Workers are at a Higher Risk for Workplace Injuries, and Therefore More Workers Comp Filings
Since the Great Recession began in 2008, companies have tried to cut costs and still deliver product. And that means they have hired more temp workers, especially blue collar workers, who are at higher risk for workplace injuries and potentially filing for workers comp.
Currently, the temp industry employs 2.8 million people in the United States. In five states, temps face a greater risk of on-the-job injury than permanent employees.
Temp workers are most likely to find work in blue collar industries like manufacturing and construction, which puts them at huge physical risk for workplace injury. Statistics gathered by ProPublica show that, in California and Florida, temps had a 50% greater risk of being injured on the job than their permanent counterparts; Massachusetts temp workers faced a 36% greater risk, while temps in Oregon faced 66% greater chance of injury, and Minnesota’s temp labor faced 72% greater risk.
Not only are temporary workers in blue collar industries more likely to be injured, their injuries are more likely to be severe. In Florida, temp blue collar employees were twice as likely to suffer crushing injuries, lacerations, dislocations, fractures, and punctures. They were three times more likely to suffer an amputation.
The problem largely resides with the temp worker system. Although most states require companies with employees to pay for workers comp insurance, temp workers are situated in a frightening gray area. Contract employees, according to many manufacturers and construction companies, should be covered by their hiring company – the temp company – and do not require workers comp coverage through the manufacturer itself. While companies that hire temp workers save money on workers comp costs, that cost comes at the expense of both the injured workers and the taxpaying public.
Temps receive very little on-the-job training, and for blue collar jobs, which often involve heavy machinery, this lack of understanding, combined with a high-pressure environment, means that workers suffer devastating physical injury with little support. The company overseeing the work is required to have workers comp and health insurance for permanent workers, but they often claim that they have no financial responsibility to the temp workforce. This means that necessary treatment is often delayed while the temp company and hiring company battle back and forth over paperwork, to determine which hospital or doctor to send the worker to.
Josimar Rojas, 27, was a temp worker for Metal Impact, a Chicago-area factory, when his equally-untrained supervisor accidentally drilled through Rojas’s finger. He sat in an interview between his temp company and Metal Impact for an hour and a half with paper towels wrapped around his hand while they tried to figure out where to send him for care.
“The company said they couldn’t look at me, because I didn’t work for them,” he said.
“When a lot of our guys have accidents, there’s this delay of at least a half-hour of where is he going to go,” said Jose Rivero, Rojas’ workers’ comp attorney. “Are we sending him to our doctor or their doctor, and whose paperwork do you fill out?”
The workers comp system also has imperfect records regarding the difference between temp and permanent work injuries. Blue collar temps are not covered by unions, and some temp jobs threaten to blacklist employees who file for necessary workers compensation.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Workers Comp Claims
The workers compensation lawyers at The Strom Law Firm, LLC proudly seek justice on behalf of employees injured or killed on the job who work for private companies, as well as employees working for local county, city, and state government. You need an attorney who will fight with you to the end. Give us a call today 803.252.4800 for a free workers comp case review.