Temporary employment is on the verge of change when it comes to hazards in the workplace. However, in spite of OSHA’s recommendations that co-employers be responsible for contingent worker injuries there is still a long way to go. Before starting a temporary assignment it is important to understand the potential hazards that you may face. This is clearly more applicable in a warehouse or industrial environment but even office workers can be injured on the job. Here are some hazards to look out for and what to do if you’re faced with them.
- Falls. A slip and fall accident can happen to anyone at any time no matter what type of work environment they are in. Before entering a room, check the floor to be sure there are no obstacles or liquids that could potentially cause a fall or injury. Be cautious on stairs and don’t try to carry things that can block your view or prevent you from holding on to the railings.
- Heavy lifting injuries. Workers who are not trained to lift heavy objects can suffer back injuries related to this duty. Back injuries currently cost American companies over $60 billion a year. Incorrect lifting technique can be one cause of these injuries. Ask for a back brace or help with lifting if you feel that you are unable to handle the load. Always lift from the knees, not the back.
- Ask for help. Many temporary employees feel as though their hands are tied on an assignment. They fear retaliation from permanent employees or management if they ask for help along the way. Never feel as though you are unable to ask for help. If you experience a problem, report it to your staffing service. If you can’t reach something safely, ask for a ladder or for assistance before attempting anything that can cause an injury.
- Know when to say no. There may be a time when you need to take your safety into account and refuse or leave a temporary job because of the conditions. Talk with your staffing supervisor about your concerns before an injury occurs and work with them to find a better environment for you. They will be happy to have the information on the company in questions since they do not see day to day operations or behaviors in the office.
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