The Bollinger Law Firm, P.C.

Temporary workers usually not covered by workers' comp

North Carolina employers must create a safe working environment for their workers. When they don't, employee's have the right to file a workers' compensation claim for injuries they sustained on the job.

However, just like many employers hire temporary workers to drive down wages, a recent report by the Center for Progressive Reform found that employers hire temporary workers, who are not protected by workers' compensation, to perform increasingly dangerous jobs without providing them with the necessary safety.

Temporary workers, according to the report, perform risky jobs on farms, warehouses and hotel industries and have doubled number in the last two decades. These 2.5 million workers suffer higher rates of workplace injuries and deaths than other employees.

According to the study, since employers lack workers' compensation and health insurance coverage for these employees, they do not have to compensate them in case of injury and can shift the burden of their workplace injuries on to the public. In addition, they often skip safety training for temporary workers.

The study also found that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is unable to keep tabs on these employers because their enforcement budget is limited. Consequently, they are unable to make inspections and do not penalize violators.

Because of these issues, the study encourages the industry to take steps to increase safety regulations and training for temporary workers.

North Carolina employees working in unsafe working environments should report violations to the relevant authorities to ensure they remain safe and keep in mind their right to file claim in case of injury.

Source: allgov.com, "Companies Increasingly Use Temporary Workers to Avoid Safety Regulations," Jan. 15, 2013

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