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Temporary workers face high injury risk in Minnesota

In a slowly recovering economy, many people are struggling to find steady, well-paying jobs. As a result, they might turn to temporary employment, which they might not have considered in a stronger economy.

At the same time, reports indicate that employers are increasingly hiring temporary workers. Although pursuing this option may provide flexibility, it also minimizes many of the obligations employers have to their workforce. For example, temporary workers generally don't have to be covered by workers' compensation insurance. As a result, temps who are injured on the job may have difficulty receiving financial coverage for their injuries.

To compound the issues temporary workers face, a recent study released by ProPublica found that they are also much more likely to deal with injuries than permanent employees. This is particularly true in blue collar settings. In Minnesota, temps are 72 percent more likely to be injured than their permanent counterparts.

Observers attribute much of this disparity in injury rates to inadequate training. Temporary workers are often thrown into unfamiliar environments. With only cursory training to guide their work, there is a significant risk for mistakes to occur simply because workers don't know exactly what they are doing.

When workers are injured and seek compensation, they might become mired in a legal fight. Injury claims for temporary employees often become the subject of disputes between the places of work and the agencies hired to provide temporary labor. Furthermore, injured workers may feel discouraged to report injuries because they fear retribution from the temporary employment agencies.

Dealing with a workplace injury can be a confusing and intimidating experience. Workers' compensation is known to be a complex legal subject -- even without factoring in issues surrounding temporary employment. As such, it may be helpful to work with an experienced attorney to see what options exist for injured temporary employees.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Temp Work Isn't Only Insecure -- It's More Dangerous Too," Michael Grabell, Olga Pierce and Jeff Larson, Dec. 18, 2013

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