As we inch closer to the holidays, many companies in Lancaster County are boosting their workforce with the addition of seasonal employees to manage the increased workload. While the additional team members can alleviate some of the rush during the holiday season, they are not immune to the occupational hazards many permanent employees encounter year-round. In fact, seasonal workers can be at a greater risk of injury.
If you are a temp worker or are a business that relies on temporary work, you may wonder if seasonal team members are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The short answer is yes. Thankfully, in the state of Pennsylvania, the workers’ compensation laws typically extend protection to seasonal workers.
There are some exceptions, of course. And it can be confusing who is responsible for workers’ comp coverage if the temporary worker was hired through a staffing agency. Let’s take a closer look at workers’ comp coverage for seasonal workers, what injuries are common this time of year, and what to do if you are a seasonal worker injured on the job.
Are Short-Term Employees Covered by Workers Comp?
Most seasonal and short-term employees are covered under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. Even if an employee is only working for a season or a couple of months, they must be reported as employees to the insurance company and they are then eligible to receive benefits should they suffer an injury while on the job.
In Pennsylvania, there are certain exemptions to the standard workers’ compensation laws. For instance, independent contractors, often hired for specific, short-term tasks, aren’t covered by workers’ compensation. Volunteers and interns may also be exempt.
One thing a seasonal worker should keep in mind is who hired them. If a temporary staffing agency got you the job, the temp agency’s workers’ comp insurance should cover you if you get hurt, not that of the employer. This applies to non-seasonal/short-term employees, as well; if they are hired through a temporary staffing agency, the staffing agency provides their workers’ compensation insurance.
If you’ve been injured during temporary employment, it’s best to consult with a workers’ comp attorney to understand your rights. Temporary employees are entitled to the same protection as long-term workers.
What Types of Injuries Should Seasonal Workers Be Aware Of?
Workplace injuries among seasonal employees can come from minor mishaps or serious accidents. Several factors contribute to these incidents. For instance, seasonal workers might not receive adequate training because of their temporary status, which could lead to accidents caused by unfamiliarity with equipment or procedures.
In addition, these workers may not be accustomed to the work environment, which could make them more prone to accidents. Seasonal jobs often coincide with peak business periods including the holiday rush, which can increase the physical demands on these workers and heighten the risk of injury.
Machine accidents are frequent this time of year, mainly because of inadequate training or unfamiliarity with machinery. Overexertion is another common issue, often resulting from the increased workload during peak seasons. Sprains and strains are also prevalent, often resulting from the physical strain of lifting heavy items or from repetitive movements.
During the holiday season, outdoor seasonal jobs can pose unique hazards that lead to injury. Back injuries are particularly common, often resulting from shoveling snow or slipping while decorating for the holidays. Falls from ladders while putting up outdoor lights or other decorations also frequently lead to injuries.
Slips and trips are also common this time of year, often caused by electrical cords, scattered decorations, or icy conditions. Increased production goals and holiday decorating can contribute to more workplace accidents.
If you’ve experienced any of these injuries on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can help alleviate the financial burden of medical bills and lost wages.
What to Do if You Are Injured as a Seasonal Employee
If you are a seasonal employee and you have been injured while working, it is important to take steps right away to protect your rights. First and foremost, make sure you report the injury to your supervisor as soon as possible. If you do not report the injury within 120 days, your workers’ compensation claim may be denied. Report the injury within the first 21 days to receive maximum benefits.
After you’ve reported the injury, seek medical attention. Your employer should have a list of approved workers’ compensation medical professionals. If they do not, you can see any healthcare professional of your choosing.
Take pictures of the area where you were injured and keep receipts or bills for any medical treatments you receive for the injury. Documentation is a key part of any workers’ comp claim.
Finally, be sure to contact a workers’ compensation attorney who can help walk you through the process. They will also ensure that your employer follows all laws about reporting accidents and injuries.
Workers’ Comp Law Firm for Temporary Workers
At Georgelis, Larsen & Sabatino Injury Law Firm, we concentrate solely on workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Our considerable experience and success in advocating for injured workers allows us to have a broad understanding of the process, gives us the resources and strategies to protect employees’ rights, and leads to winning petitions for our clients against employers and insurance companies unwilling to do the right thing.
If you’re a seasonal worker and have experienced an injury at work, your focus should be on your recovery, not on how to cover your medical expenses. Workers’ compensation benefits are there to ease this financial stress. If your claim has been denied by the insurance company, we’re here to help you defend your rights.
Bear in mind that your employer has a legal team working to minimize their financial liabilities following a workplace injury. It’s only fair that you have equal representation. Our dedicated, assertive, and experienced workers’ comp attorneys are ready to advocate for your rights.
Injured? Contact us today at 1-800-HURT-NOW for a free consultation or connect with us online. We’ll evaluate your case free of charge, and our fees only apply if we are successful in your case.