A recent case of serious safety violations in an Illinois manufacturing plant illustrates the need for employers to train all their workers, even temporary ones. Temporary or contingent employment is no excuse for neglecting safety procedures, as a worker compensation lawyer in McHenry knows. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has responded to this case with penalties and fines totaling more than $100,000.
Disastrous explosion at Polychem Services
On September 4, 2014, two temporary employees at Polychem Services, a Chicago manufacturing facility, were severely injured after a gas-powered forklift caused an explosion in the plant. Both of the workers were hospitalized and could not return to work for several months. Neither employee had been trained in proper safety procedures for working with flammable products. They were also not given adequate training on using protective equipment.
Employers’ duties to temporary workers
According to OSHA regulations, temporary workers have the same entitlement to safety training as permanent workers. A worker compensation lawyer in McHenry is aware that their rights include all of the following:
- Fully adequate body protection for all hazardous tasks and training on its proper use
- Education about harmful substances and safe exposure levels
- Training for the use of all industrial vehicles, including forklifts and cranes
- Elimination of all unnecessary trip hazards, fall hazards, fire hazards and explosion hazards, and training on how to avoid them
This training must begin from the very first day on the job.
Injuries tragically common among contractors and temporary workers
OSHA statistics show that injuries are tragically common among temporary workers and contractors, especially workers in their first weeks and months of employment. According to OSHA, more than one out of every six fatal injuries on the job during 2013 involved a contractor or subcontractor rather than a full-time employee. Many of these deadly incidents can be traced directly to insufficient training. When workers are put in dangerous situations without enough information, a serious accident can result.
Staying safe as a temporary worker
Temporary workers are entitled to the same protection under OSHA rules as permanent workers. If a temporary employee notices unsafe conditions at a plant, factory or construction site, the employee may complain to OSHA without fear or penalty or retaliation. Injured temporary workers have the right to compensation and medical care after an accident.
Life as a temporary worker can be complicated. People hurt on the job may find it useful to speak with a worker compensation lawyer in McHenry.