When the holiday season begins, many retailers and shipping companies hire seasonal help. Last month United Parcel Service (UPS) hired 100,000 temporary workers to handle an anticipated 32 million packages a day. The activity rate at this time of year goes up by an estimated 60%, so seasonal help is an essential part of making sure that parcels are delivered on time.
On November 25, two young men employed part-time by UPS were killed when their cargo tugging vehicle turned over at Ontario International Airport in California. Workers on the UPS Ontario Facebook page made posts alleging that 15-hour workdays were routine at this time of year and some employees got as little as an hour and a half of sleep between shifts.
The conditions they describe are extreme, but even under normal circumstances, seasonal workers are more likely to be injured than regular employees. One study identified the following reasons as likely factors in the higher injury rate:
- Seasonal workers are less likely to have a high amount of job experience.
- They are not as familiar with workplace hazards.
- The safety training they receive is inadequate or ineffective.
- They are less likely to complain about substandard working conditions because they worry about losing their jobs.
The holiday season presents a unique set of risks, especially for temporary employees who work outside. If not provided with the appropriate clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE), then they can suffer cold stress injuries. Those hired to decorate public places like parks and malls can fall off ladders, slip on ice, or be accidentally electrocuted.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), some employers try to cut costs by skipping the safety training part of the job orientation for temporary employees. It launched a Temporary Worker Initiative to emphasize the fact that employers were responsible for helping their temporary hires understand safety conditions and avoid injury or death on the job.
OSHA confirmed that both employers and staffing agencies share responsibility for ensuring a safe workplace. Agencies have a duty to ensure that they only send workers to assignments that comply with applicable health and safety laws, and employers must treat their seasonal staff like any other employees in terms of safety training and protection. This includes:
- Ensuring that they are aware of job-related hazards
- Providing the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Delivering all appropriate training
Although employed temporarily, seasonal workers are entitled to benefits under New York’s Workers’ Compensation Law. If you accept seasonal employment and are injured in the course of your duties, then a New York personal injury attorney who understands workers’ compensation law will help ensure that you get the benefits you are entitled to.
If you were injured on the job, whether you were it as a permanent employee or seasonal employee, then you should contact the law office of Jayson Lutzky. Mr. Lutzky is a Bronx, New York accident and personal injury lawyer. He can evaluate your case in a free in-person initial consultation. Call 7189-329-9500 to set up an appointment.