A number of trends in the current labor market are currently creating enormous challenges to worker safety and health, including the increased presence of employees of multiple employers at the same worksite, the universal misclassification of wage employers as independent contractors and the widespread use of temporary employees provided by labor staffing agencies.

Employers Compromising Workers from Other Firms

Often times, several firms employ workers at the same site, but companies fail to work together to create a safe workspace, causing all workers at the site to face a higher risk of injury. This pattern has been rampant in the construction industry for years, but has recently started to creep into other sectors of the economy. In an attempt to combat this, OSHA frequently cites employers for endangering the employees of other companies working at the same job site.

Misclassification of Employees

Employees are frequently misclassified as independent contractors, which puts them at an increased safety risk. The proportion of individuals impacted by this in the construction industry is substantial, but is difficult to actually quantify due to its illegal nature. Researchers associated with the McClatchy newspaper chain recently studied this topic, finding that an estimated 37.7 percent of all construction workers in Texas were misclassified as independent contractors. A smaller proportion of the same issue was found in North Carolina.

Misclassifying workers increases the chances of work injuries for two reasons:

  1. Employers don’t have to worry about complying with the OSHA requirement to provide a safe workplace, as the OSHA law doesn’t cover the self-employed.
  2. Employers avoid paying workers’ compensation insurance premiums, unemployment insurance and all other benefits and taxes.

When injuries happen, the workers who have been hurt on the job, their families and taxpayers are left to foot the bill, forcing them to subsidize the employer’s hazardous operations.

Increased Employment of Temporary Workers

Temporary workers are typically at the work site for short periods of time, but often sustain a very high proportion of injuries. Researchers in the state of Washington found that temporary workers in the construction and manufacturing sectors had twice the rate of injuries of workers in standard employment setups.

For each injury sustained, these people lost more days from work than permanent employees, but received less medical and time loss compensation for their injuries. These workers are at a greater risk, because they often lack proper safety training and are unfamiliar with specific workplace hazards. They’re often assigned to new worksites multiple times per year, which further increases their risk of injury.

Preventing Workplace Injuries

The most effective solution to these issues is for employers to step up and make it a priority to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. It’s required by law and the benefits are twofold — allowing workers and their families to avoid suffering massive monetary losses and significantly reducing the financial burden on the healthcare system.

Don’t settle for anything but the best workers for your team.

Every day you spend recruiting costs you money. We’ve engineered our company to fill your positions fast and efficiently.Contact the experienced engineering recruiters at Premium Staffing, Inc.

2015 ACA Changes: Are you on Top of Your Game? CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)