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Temporary construction workers struggle with safety, injuries

While construction firms are looking for ways to navigate the recovering economy and real estate market, they may also be looking for ways to preserve their bottom line. In order to do so, they have turned to "contingent workers," who are employed on an as-needed basis, often for little pay. As some in North Carolina may already know, these individuals are often at a high risk of sustaining injuries with little guarantee they will be covered by workers' compensation.

When contingent workers are employed in the construction industry, they are often placed in dangerous job roles. According to a recent report released by workplace safety proponents, these individuals are often put in a position to become the victim of a construction site accident victim due to injuries sustained from falling or dangerous power tools. If these workers are not provided health insurance or workers' compensation, they may run into a series of health and financial concerns.

One of the ways employers will avoid providing insurance coverage is by inappropriately classifying contingent workers as "independent contractors." This places the burden on the employee to take care of their own benefits, which may also leave employers with little incentive to create a safe workplace for everyone. This is exactly why workers can benefit from being aware of safety regulations and methods for enforcement.

Given the complexities of North Carolina workers' compensation law, it may be difficult for contingent workers to know where to turn or what to do in the event they are injured. This is why it can be beneficial to consult with someone who is familiar with the law and can help find a path forward. Injured workers shouldn't have to feel powerless when their employer fails to provide the protection they need in order to stay healthy on the job.

Source: EHS Today, "7 Strategies to Improve Safety for Contingent Workers," Laura Walter, Jan. 18, 2013

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