Work Injury for Temporary Workers: New Law and Historic Legislation – Workers Compensation Legal Blogs Posted by Tara Reck, Esq.
The Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) has an ongoing security research project for contract workers. The aim of the project is to better understand the high frequency of their work accidents.
Research project on work accidents for temporary workers
L&I is working hard to better assess the risk factors for temporary accidents at work. To achieve this goal, L&I focuses on:
1. Measuring the extent and frequency of injuries suffered by agency workers in the workplace compared to standard workers in similar occupations;
2. Interviewing temporary workers and standard workers with recent accidents at work in order to obtain relevant information and ideas on how to improve safety;
3. Survey of temporary employment agencies and managing directors; and
4. Developing educational materials for industries and parties involved in the employment of temporary workers.
Interestingly, L&I learned that the number of agency workers has increased significantly since 1990. In fact, many more industries use agency workers. With this increase, the incidence of work-related accidents among temporary workers increases at a similar rate. This includes particularly dangerous industries such as construction and manufacturing.
Injuries in the workplace of temporary workers as a major concern
L&I is not alone in its research. The United States Department of Labor (OSHA) is also investigating the incidence of workplace injuries among agency workers. OSHA fears that some employers may use temporary workers to avoid compliance with the safety and protection obligations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. According to OSHA, agency workers are used in a wide variety of jobs, including very dangerous ones. These contract workers are more susceptible to workplace injuries. In addition, employers often fail to provide them with adequate health and safety training. In particular, according to OSHA, both employers and temporary employment agencies are responsible for these errors. Therefore, OSHA stipulates that both employers and temporary employment agencies must meet the safety and health obligations for temporary workers.
Temporary Labor Protection in Washington State
Washington State recently took a major step to improve the protection of agency workers in our state. The governor signed SHB 1206. This new law was sponsored by Liz Berry, former director of the Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ).
The law comes into force on July 25, 2021 and creates new protection for temporary workers. In particular, increased communication between temporary employment agencies and employers regarding safety and training is required. It also requires employers to provide temporary workers with safety training. In addition, documents and records of security inquiries and training are required. After all, it forces employers to be transparent about hazards and safety training.
New historical legislation
Based on my research, this new law provides more protection for agency workers than any other state. Indeed, many hope that this law will serve as a blueprint for other states to take similar safeguards. Hopefully the passage of this law will drastically reduce the incidence of work-related accidents among agency workers. Congratulations to Representative Liz Berry, Temp Worker Justice, L&I, and Washington State for enacting this historic piece of legislation. To quote Representative Berry:
All Washington workers deserve to be safe at work. This bill will literally save lives and limbs.
Further information: https://tarareck.com/work-injury-temporary-worker/
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Ms. Tara Reck is the executive L&I attorney at Reck Law – Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Washington State. If you would like further information, please contact Ms. Reck via:
* Seattle | Bellevue | Mercer Island Office: (206) 395-6141
* Tacoma Office: (253) 999-9828
* Renton office: (425) 800-8195
* Port Orchard Office: (360) 876-4123
* Email: [email protected]
* Your Workers’ Compensation blog at https://tarareck.com/contact/ or their company website at https://recklaw.com/contact/