California employers are required to track and report workplace injuries to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) each year that result in time off from work, require medical care, or result in death or unconsciousness. Each year, several thousand workers are killed in on-the-job accidents, and many more are injured. While the injury and fatality rates are staggering, those involving temporary workers demonstrate that they are much likelier to be injured or killed at work than permanent employees.
Temporary employees and workplace injuries
According to data compiled by government agencies over five years, temporary workers are injured on the job at rates ranging from 36% to 72% higher than permanent employees. The much greater risk is thought to be caused by a relative lack of safety training they are provided by employers as compared to other employees. Employers typically do not invest as much money or time in temporary workers, making it likelier for them to be injured.
What employers should do
Employers need to take steps to ensure they have a safe workplace environment for all employees. They should take the following steps to prevent workplace injuries:
- Provide the same types of safety training to temporary employees as others
- Supply safety equipment to all employees, including temporary workers
- Strictly adhere to the safety guidelines promulgated by OSHA
- Comply with injury reporting requirements
- Encourage employees to report injuries without retaliation
- Ensure employees can report safety concerns without fear of losing their jobs
While most companies want to keep injury rates low, all of them need to ensure they maintain a safe working environment for their employees. Doing so can reduce an employer’s costs over the long term by preventing accidents and subsequent workers’ compensation claims.