Working for a temporary agency might seem like a good idea when you need quick employment or are otherwise without a job. But you might want to know how responsible a company is before going to work for just any temporary staffing agency. For starters, look for one that has been around for a while and has a good reputation.
As a temporary worker, are you still covered under workers’ compensation insurance if you are injured on the job? The short answer is “yes.” So the next question might be: “Whose insurance am I covered under — the temporary agency or the company with whom I was sent to work?”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, temporary employment agencies are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. However, not all agencies are reputable, and some have been known to misclassify the type of workers they are hiring in order to pay lower rates. Some agencies also claim they hire fewer numbers of employees, and then open additional agencies as employee numbers go up to keep their rates lower.
It is also the staffing agency’s responsibility, per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, to screen employers and be aware of any safety hazards at job sites they are sending employees to. OSHA claims that both the staffing agency and employers should jointly communicate to ensure temporary employees are working in a safe environment, and that they have had any necessary safety training to perform the job.
Some of the most hazardous jobs, such as construction projects, utilize temporary staffing agencies for labor work. A temporary worker may be sent to a variety of different jobs, some of which they are not properly trained or suited for. OSHA is concerned that employers may sometimes utilize temporary workers to avoid some of their obligations to comply with laws that are meant to protect workers.
If you are a temporary employee, you may need to take your own extra precautions to ensure you are not working in an unsafe or hazardous environment. Finding a reputable staffing agency to work for is your best bet, and if you are injured on the job or forced to work in an unsafe environment, contact a legal authority on the matter.
Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “Protecting Temporary Workers,” accessed Aug. 06, 2015