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Work safety advocates fight for temp workers' rights on-the-job

This time of year in particular provides great opportunity for job-seekers to find at least temporary work. But even outside of the holiday season, temp workers make up an important portion of the workforce. The unsettled economy has supported employers' dependence on temp workers.

The Huffington Post reports that despite the workers' presence in the workforce, temps are not being treated like other employees in regards to their workplace safety. Safety advocates are trying to push the Occupational Safety Health Administration to create and enforce stricter job safety laws for temp employees.

This matter has Illinois ties. A worker advocacy group called Chicago Workers' Collaborative is one group fighting for improved workplace safety for temp workers. Chicago workers will often find temporary employment in factories and other positions that involve machinery and/or manual labor. These are high-risk jobs for work injuries, which makes temporary work not only low-paying but potentially hazardous to one's health and future earning ability.

For example, a woman suffered a work injury in Chicago while working a factory job. She was burned and since the accident, has stepped up to try to improve the work environment for temp workers like herself and the rest in Illinois. Earlier this year, OSHA did announce that it would increase its monitoring of locations that employ temps. The workers are to be properly trained and to essentially be as protected as any permanent staff from accident, injury and illness.

Workers' compensation laws can be complex, but they are crucial to the financial well-being of an injured worker who needs time to recover from a work injury. Any worker who believes an injury or illness is the result of a negligent employer should discuss the specific situation with a workers' compensation attorney in the area.

Source: The Huffington Post, "A New Day, A New Danger: Temp Workers Face Safety Hazards at Work," Michelle Chen, Dec. 4, 2013

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