What Ought to Employers Do to Hold Seasonal Staff Protected? – Staff Compensation Authorized Blogs Posted by Bryan J Chant, Esq.

This is the season for a sharp spike in Christmas shopping, which means many retailers will have to hire additional staff to keep up with the surge in business. In addition to retail, other industries see significant increases in business volume during the holidays, including distribution centers, warehouses and delivery workers. To meet the increased demand for products and services, many employers hire seasonal workers to work for short periods. Depending on the type of work the employee is hired to do, there are a number of hazards that the employee may be exposed to that can increase the risk of injury in the workplace. It is the responsibility of the employer to create a safe working environment and to provide all seasonal workers with the necessary training and supervision. If an employee is injured while being hired as a seasonal worker, they may be eligible for employee compensation. An experienced labor compensation attorney can assist injured workers with their application.

In 2017, more than 18 percent of 4,414 deaths in the workplace were contract agents, including temporary workers. According to the National Security Council (NSC), employers who hire seasonal aid for the holidays must provide the necessary training for every worker and ensure workers understand their responsibilities and avoid possible workplace-related hazards. This is especially true for young workers who may be entering the world of work for the first time and are unaware of the general safety risks in the workplace. From teenagers who are new to the workforce to older, more experienced employees who may take on additional part-time work to make more money, seasonal workers generally don’t have a great deal of knowledge of the company or facility. This can increase the risk of injury, especially if these seasonal workers handle machinery or other hazardous equipment.

Tips employers should follow to protect seasonal workers
Employers who tend to hire seasonal workers, especially during the busy holiday season, should keep the following tips in mind:

Make safety a priority:
– Employers are requested to communicate a safety-relevant attitude during the interview, at employee meetings and in so-called toolbox discussions. When employers make it clear that safety is a top priority, seasonal workers are more likely to have that priority too. Supervisors should not make unreasonable demands on workers or encourage them to use abbreviations that may be unsafe.
– Managers must give clear instructions for each task. Storage racks, packing boxes, the delivery of products, and the sale of goods require special instructions. Even a seemingly common task requires detailed instructions, especially for new or seasonal workers who have never done this particular type of job. OSHA can help employers provide training on practical equipment, how to identify hazards in the workplace and what to do in an emergency.
– All employees, including young workers and other seasonal workers, need to know that they have the right to report safety concerns without retaliation concerns. Workers should feel comfortable talking about safety concerns. In addition, workers should be warned about dangerous jobs that are prohibited for workers under a certain age.
– OSHA also provides resources for a number of different types of seasonal workers, including warehouse workers, truck drivers, forklift drivers, crowd management and restaurant employers.
Wage and hourly tips:
– It is a violation of working conditions to refuse to pay cashiers and salespeople for the time spent closing the register, or to force warehouse staff to work through their break without pay and refuse to work overtime for employees to pay who work more than 40 hours per week.
– The Department of Labor has created regulatory compliance toolkits that address federal labor laws that apply to specific industries, including restaurants, resorts and hotels, youth development and other businesses.
– The Department of Labor also offers a Holiday Season Employment Guide that answers a number of frequently asked questions, including the following:
o Is additional remuneration required for weekend work?
o How many hours does a full-time job have?
o How many hours does part-time work have?
o How many hours per week can seasonal workers work?
o When are breaks and meal times allowed?
o When are salary increases required?
o How are vacation pay, sick pay and vacation pay calculated?

Identify specific work risks: Every job is unique and brings its own challenges and dangers. Vocational training should address these hazards and ensure that the worker knows the steps to take to avoid them or what to do if an accident occurs. For example, workers who operate machines must be trained to switch the machine on, off and on, and know the personal protective equipment that they must use when operating the machine. Employers should never assume that an employee will find out things in the workplace.
Promote teamwork: By working a new seasonal worker with a qualified and experienced employee, the new employee can learn how to do their job safely and receives regular feedback from their mentor.
Beware of work fatigue: Shift workers and seasonal workers who work long hours can get sleepy while working. Fatigue and reduced alertness can increase the risk of an accident at work. Depending on the type of work the employee is doing, the resulting injuries can be serious.
Facility Tour: Managers should show new employees where they will work and give a facility tour so they know where the bathroom, break rooms, and emergency exits are. If the worker is operating equipment, make sure they know where the equipment is, where the personal protective equipment is, and where that equipment should be returned. Additionally, if the employee has to work from elevated surfaces, ensure that they avoid unsafe ledges or structures that can cause serious injury from a fall.
Discuss the role of technology: If automated machines or robotic technology are used in the workplace, employers should discuss the role of those machines, including how and when they work, so that seasonal workers are made aware of them. This can help prevent accidents.
Educating Employees in the Use of Safety Equipment: From machine guards to safety gates on raised platforms, it is critical that seasonal workers understand and be trained to use this equipment.
Are seasonal workers eligible for employee compensation?
If a temporary worker is injured while on the job, he or she is entitled to Maryland workers’ compensation. In fact, full-time and part-time workers are treated equally with regard to compensation for employees. That is, if a seasonal worker is injured at work, the employer must obey state workers’ compensation laws and offer financial benefits for his injuries.

However, it is important for seasonal workers to understand that the application process for seasonal workers’ compensation can be a little more complicated, especially if they have been hired through a temporary employment agency. The employee will continue to receive employee compensation benefits, but it may not be clear whether the employer or the temporary employment agency is responsible for providing these benefits. In addition, insurance companies can try to refuse coverage if the injured worker was hired through a temporary employment agency. Seasonal workers may be entitled to the following benefits:

Medical expenses related to the injury
Loss of wages
Temporary benefits in the event of complete disability (TTD)
Permanent disability (PD) is granted when the injury permanently prevents the worker from returning to work
Seasonal workers who do not work in the off-season may no longer receive TTD benefits during this time. However, if a seasonal worker usually finds another job after the end of the vacation period, he can continue to receive TTD benefits if he is unable to work due to the injury.

Frequent injuries to seasonal workers
Depending on the type of work a seasonal worker does, they may be at increased risk of injury while working. The following are examples of injuries seasonal workers can suffer:

A worker suffers a brain injury after being knocked over by a disgruntled shopper on Black Friday.
A part-time factory worker breaks his leg after falling off a ladder.
A seasonal delivery driver suffers a spinal cord injury after being involved in a serious car accident while on the job.
An employee suffers from a musculoskeletal injury after lifting a heavy package from a shelf in a distribution center.

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