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U.S. Senator calls probe on workplace deaths of temp workers

With today's unpredictable economy, it can be hard to get a job. All too often, Pennsylvania residents are forced to settle for temporary work just to make ends meet. Although there is nothing wrong with temp work, as it is popularly called, others see it as more dangerous as compared to regular jobs. First, temp workers often do not get the best benefits or any benefits at all. Second, temp workers often engage in work that is considered to be hazardous. Worker safety is a serious concern for all workers, especially since temporary worker fatalities seem to be on the rise.

Senator Robert Casey has called on the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to look into the rising work-related deaths involving temporary workers and give much- needed advice to lawmakers. The call comes on the heels of a controversial incident involving a temporary worker who died in a sugar plant east of Pittsburgh. The 50-year-old male worker suffocated in a sugar bin while trying to remove sugar clumps from a faulty hopper. OSHA cited the sugar plant for the death, since the plant previously had removed safety guards that would have prevented the death, solely because they slowed down production.

Last year, the agency launched a campaign called the Temporary Worker Initiative. It was aimed to gather information on workplace fatalities in order to increase awareness and educate employers and temp firms.

A workplace death involving a temp worker or a regular employee is a serious issue that should be addressed immediately. Employees work for a living to provide for themselves, as well as for the needs of their families. Doing so, however, does not mean that their safety should be compromised. If a worker dies in a work-related accident, a Pennsylvania family may have the option to file a legal action against the employer, especially if the family suspects that there was negligence on the part of the employer.

Source: The Inquirer, "Casey calls for scrutiny of temp-worker fatalities," Ben Finley, July 13, 2014

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