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Attorney Robert Briskman Warns That Blue-Collar Temporary Employees Face Greater Risk for Work Injuries


Chicago, IL -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/31/2014 -- A recent report shows that temporary blue-collar workers are at greater risk for work injuries than their permanent counterparts.

The report, issued by the nonprofit group ProPublica, found that the increase in the use of temporary workers in warehouses, factories and construction sites has resulted not only in lower wages for workers, but higher rates of injury and death as well.

“Blue-collar workers have always been at risk for on-the-job injuries,” said Robert Briskman, a Chicago work injury attorney. “Unfortunately, temp workers in blue-collar fields are at an even greater risk.”

The temp industry has grown substantially in recent years. Temp firms now employ a record 2.8 million workers and account for a fifth of total U.S. job growth since the official end of the recession. The ProPublica study found that 47 percent of temporary workers were working blue-collar jobs (up from 30 percent in 1993). With the rise in the use of temporary workers, the risk of injury has also increased.

The ProPublica report analyzed 3.5 million workers' compensation claims in five states over five years. Because there are no federal statistics on injuries to temporary workers, and because state records are often incomplete, the organization focused on five states with good records that represented one in five Americans.

One of the key findings of the report is that temporary workers in the five states were at greater risk of injury than non-temps, ranging from a 36 percent higher risk in Massachusetts to a 72 percent higher risk in Minnesota. The study also found that the problem is getting worse, as the claims rates for temporary workers increased in four of the five states, while claims for non-temporary workers remained steady or dropped.

The report said that the risk to blue-collar temporary workers was almost surely understated, as temporary workers are much less likely to report workplace injuries or hazards. Due to the temporary nature of their employment, many such workers hesitate to speak up about such matters because they worry that it will affect their ability to be rehired.

In addition, the report said that the use of temporary workers subverts the economic incentives that are supposed to be present in the workers' compensation system. In that system, safety is encouraged because companies with lower injury rates pay lower workers' compensation insurance premiums. When temporary workers are used, the temporary employment firm pays the insurance premiums, and the actual workplace has a reduced incentive to promote job safety.

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