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Temp positions and worker safety

Although many Pennsylvania residents desire long-term employment options, others appreciate the variety and flexibility involved in temporary positions. However, working through a temp agency could leave certain issues up in the air. One of the most serious matters is that of worker safety. As a temporary worker, an individual suffering a serious injury during a short work assignment could face major financial and medical problems without the resources or benefits needed to obtain appropriate treatment.

A joint case study involving the National Safety Council and the American Staffing Association has identified communication as the most important issue related to assuring such employees of proper care. The hypothetical scenario involving a temporary welding employee being exposed to fumes was used to identify areas that needed to be clarified. The study demonstrates a need for formal procedures to be adopted between a staffing agency and a host employer. Written evidence of this policy provides protection to all parties involved in a safety incident.

A business and a staffing company working together should identify areas of responsibility to ensure that protocols will be understood. Typically, the host business will oversee daily activities of a temporary worker, which points to that agency being the best party for reporting incidents. However, the question of which party should provide workers' compensation coverage for temporary workers is unclear. Safety incidents involving temporary employees should be reported to the staffing agency.

An individual dealing with uncertainties on the job after suffering a work-related injury or illness might find that it is necessary to seek legal advice to clarify issues such as responsibility. In most cases, legal action against an employer is not appropriate. However, there could be instances in which an employer has failed to obtain the coverage required to protect its employees, potentially leaving the company liable for injuries and other damages.

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