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Temporary workers face more workplace dangers

Workplaces need to be flexible to adapt to changes in industries and economies. Many workers from the last century will readily recall when nearly all labor was part of a career path. Now, temporary work reigns supreme.

Temporary workers, or "temps," have been on the rise in many sectors - including Illinois' bustling, diversified economy. In 2016, at least 3.2 million temps did their part for the economy. Their numbers are increasing, as well as the amount of time each spends on the job.

Temps are often put to work without the same training or preparation as full-time employees, and managers are increasingly accountable for the safety of their permanent and temporary workers. The ones with insufficient training are more likely to suffer workplace accidents and lose work time to recovery.

The danger is doubled because temps are less likely to be covered by health benefits or agreements to be paid for sick time or hospital recovery. Temps are often hired through third-party companies, which are unclear or not forthcoming about the benefits available to them.

All workers, however, are protected by their rights to safe, engaging workplaces. Federal and Illinois law allow for temporary workers to access some workers' compensation benefits, and all occupants of a business are protected by premises liability laws that ensure public spaces are safe.

Human resources and mediation are often helpful in concluding cases of injured temporary workers with their employers. However, legal representation is often essential in a successful court settlement or action regarding workplace injuries.

Source: NBC News, "Temp Work Now a Permanent Fixture, Creating Problems for ‘Invisible’ Workforce," Jake Heller and Erik Ortiz, Aug. 31, 2017

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