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Protections for temporary workers on the job

An increasing number of people in New Jersey and across the country work in temporary employment, often through agencies or other intermediaries. As a result, many of these workers are confused about their rights and protections in case they are injured on the job. In particular, they could be worried if they face ongoing workplace safety violations that put them at risk. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has made recommendations for practices to improve protections for temp workers on the job.

OSHA recommends that both employers -- the host and the staffing agency -- lay out their responsibilities for compliance with workplace safety standards in their agreements. In all cases, agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for ensuring that all workers, including temporary workers, enjoy a safe job environment that complies with federal regulations. This can include ensuring that workers receive proper training and mandatory protective gear. Both employers are responsible under the law for protecting workers' safety and health.

However, employers may seek to hire temporary workers as a way to evade responsibilities. Oftentimes, these people face some of the least desirable and most hazardous tasks. In addition, temporary workers often lack training and are especially vulnerable to retaliation if they make complaints or are injured on the job. These actions are not legally permissible even though they frequently occur. Employers cannot evade their responsibilities by claiming ignorance of the situation.

When temporary workers are injured on the job due to unsafe or dangerous working conditions, they might be unsure about what they can do. A workers' compensation lawyer could help an injured worker take action if their injuries were caused by a violation of OSHA standards.

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