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Temporary Workers Safety and Missouri Work Comp


According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are roughly 2.8 million temporary employees in the US workforce.

st. louis temporary worker in warehouse

Temps provide a much-needed solution to many issues with employment, from seasonal demands that require additional workers to help companies meet demands (like during the holidays) to filling in the spot of a worker that needs some time off.

But temp workers are also more likely to get hurt on the job. An analysis from ProPublica found temps have a 36% to 72% higher chance of suffering work injuries than non-temporary workers. While ensuring your safety is the responsibility of your employer, there are some things you can do to stay safe at your job:

Ask for More Training

It’s likely you won’t be 100% knowledge of all the ins and outs of the temp job, and legally you have the right to ask for training. Your employer should provide it, and monitor your performance to make sure you performing the task as required, but if you feel like you still don’t have a full grasp on the safety requirements, it’s important to speak up.

Even if you’re only there for a few weeks, it only takes a second to make a mistake and get hurt.

Check the Equipment

The job should provide safety equipment, but even so, it’s possible to receive poor or old equipment that can’t do anything to keep you safe. Again, it’s really important to speak up. Your manager or supervisor may not have inspected your equipment and could be unaware they are not suitable.

If you notice anything wrong with your equipment, talk to your supervisors.

Don’t Rush

Sometimes, people on a new job feel like they have something to prove to show their boss they truly bring something valuable into the mix. While this is a work ethic many employers look for, don’t rush the process just to show you can do the job faster.

Rushing can lead to moments where you are not fully paying attention to what you’re doing or your surroundings, which inevitably leads to higher chances of making a mistake. Take it slow at first to get familiar with the job, the environment, and the equipment you need to use.

File a Complaint

Hopefully, you end up at a job where everyone does their best to ensure a safe environment, but the reality is that some employers may cut corners when it comes to safety. Even if you’re only a temp, you still have the right to file an OSHA safety violation complain and have an inspector come on the scene to check out the premise.

Understanding Your Rights As A Temporary Worker

The economy may be up or down, but one thing remains almost constant: temporary employees will always be needed in a company. Whether it’s a good way for businesses to easily bring extra workforce during high-demand times (like during the holidays), or just a way to make sure an employee is right for the job before the position is permanent, many Missouri workers have temporary status.

But if that’s you, do you know your rights?

What Does the Law Say?

Your employer should inform you of all the benefits they offer you. By law, you are generally entitled to most of the same benefits as a full-time employee, even if your status is only temporary.

As a result, you are generally entitled to:

  • Worker’s comp
  • Protection against discrimination and harassment
  • Adequate work environment
  • Safe working space

You should be presented with all your rights and benefits, on top of your responsibilities. Unfortunately, many employers will only focus on the former, leaving temporary employees unsure about what their rights are. This is particularly damaging in the event of a work injury when the temporary employee has no idea if they can cover their medical treatment under worker’s comp or not.

What Happens If You Get Injured?

If you’re a temporary worker and get injured on the job, you have the right to file a claim for worker’s compensation. The definition of the word ‘employee’ does not discriminate against the specific types of employee you are, so you are eligible for compensation whether you’re a:

  • Full time
  • Part-time
  • Seasonal
  • Or a temporary employee

However, please note that not all businesses are required to carry worker’s comp insurance. The law states that only businesses with 5 or more employees are legally required to do so, while smaller businesses can opt not to. So you need to check if your employer offers these benefits if the company has less than five employees.

Additionally, to get compensated you need to have an ‘employee’ status, meaning your work contract should clearly define you as an employee, and not a freelancer or independent contractor.

Neither freelancers nor independent contractors can receive worker’s comp benefits. This is because they view them as ‘self-employed’, and not employees in the traditional sense. If your contract mentions either one of the two statuses, then, unfortunately, you generally cannot receive worker’s comp benefits, though other compensation methods like a personal injury claim may be available.

Have You Been Injured?

Temporary workers who get injured on the job have the legal right to receive compensation for their medical treatment. Even if your employer tells you otherwise, the type of employment you have does not affect if you are eligible.

If you’ve been injured on the job and are having trouble getting compensated, reach out to a St. Louis worker’s compensation attorney for a case consultation and expert advice on your next steps.

Should You Speak With a Workers Compensation Lawyer?

Temp workers are generally covered by worker’s comp laws, even if you’ve only been on the job a day or just an hour. Speak with a St. Louis work injury lawyer 24/7 to learn more. Call (314) 361-4300 for a FREE case evaluation.

Updated: March 18, 2020
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