Temp Workers Face Greater Risk and Insecurity in COVID-19 Crisis

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, some of our most essential workers are temp workers. The warehouse workers who fulfill and package online orders often don’t work for Amazon but for temporary staffing agencies that contract with Amazon. The nurses brought in to alleviate dire staffing shortages at hospitals are likely not hired directly by the hospital but by temporary nurse staffing agencies. Those extra workers engaged to deliver packages? They’re likely temps too.

warehouse and Workplace safety

Employer of Record

Temporary staffing agencies differ from employment agencies or headhunters in that they place temp workers with a worksite employer but continue to act as the employer of record after that placement. This relationship creates perverse incentives for both temp agencies and worksite employers while exacerbating the vulnerabilities facing temp workers that—as with so many vulnerabilities—have been vividly highlighted by the current COVID-19 crisis. From higher risks of infection to challenges accessing benefits, essential temp workers are in a particularly precarious situation that requires attention from workers’ advocates and policy makers.

Protecting Workers

Even in normal times, temp workers experience higher rates of workplace injuries than permanent employees. Because staffing agencies, not host employers, are generally responsible for temp workers’ compensation claims, host employers may assign temps to more dangerous jobs or skimp on safety and health training that permanent employees receive when performing the same tasks. These disproportionate occupational safety risks have persisted in the COVID-19 crisis as temp workers pour into essential workplaces without any enforceable COVID-19-specific requirements from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on what practices or policies employers must implement to protect workers. From the temp warehouse workers in Illinois who are petitioning the governor for help because they are working in crowded shoulder-to-shoulder conditions, to the Facebook temp workers required to work on-site while their colleagues work remotely from home, temp workers face higher risks of infection with little-to-no protection.

Raising Workplace Safety Concerns

The threat of retaliation for speaking out about workplace safety concerns is also higher for temps. A relatively common practice in the industry is for host employers to write “DNR”—short for “Do Not Return”—on the back of a temporary worker’s work slip at the end of the day, which instructs the temporary staffing agency not to assign the worker to the jobsite again. Temp workers who complain about any aspect of an assignment face being “DNR’d.” As such, temp workers should raise workplace concerns in a concerted manner so that they invoke Section 7 of the NLRA and have some protection against retaliation.

Temp Worker Health Benefit Issues

Temp workers experience significant wage and benefit penalties as compared to permanent employees that also make it more likely that they will have no choice but to continue to work while feeling sick or caring for someone who is sick.  Only around 1 in 10 temp staffing workers (12.8%) receive any type of employer-provided health benefit, compared to 5 in 10 workers in standard arrangements (53.4%). The recently-enacted federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), requires some employers to provide their workers with paid family and medical leave for COVID-19-related reasons, but exempts employers with more than 500 employees. Since a majority of temps work for large staffing agencies, this effectively excludes them from these new protections. States need to step in and pass legislation that provides comprehensive paid leave and closes the gaps in the federal law.

Temp Worker Unemployment Insurance Concerns

Temp workers are also more likely to fall through safety net gaps if they are laid off or work dries up due to COVID-19 closures. While temps should be eligible for unemployment insurance (UI), many states have implemented UI eligibility requirements—such as a high threshold for hours worked or wages earned—that pose insurmountable barriers for some temp workers because of their intermittent work schedules and low wages. Furthermore, temps who refuse an assignment for a good reason—for example, because they need to stay home to care for a child whose school has closed due to COVID-19 or because a worksite employer has failed to implement basic health and safety measures to halt the spread of COVID-19—may be disqualified from UI depending on how narrowly their state defines “good cause” for refusing work. The FFCRA requires states to take steps to expand UI access, such as making it easier to file UI claims, waiving onerous eligibility requirements, and expanding the range of “good cause” reasons for leaving or refusing work. Worker advocates should pressure states to implement FFCRA’s UI mandate as broadly as possible so that temps can access benefits.


While it’s hard to look beyond these immediate and pressing needs, it’s also important to think ahead to what will happen to temp jobs when we begin to emerge from this crisis. Use of temporary workers typically goes up in recessionary times as employers remain cautious of taking on greater personnel costs than they can afford. In the wake of the Great Recession, temporary staffing agency work hours grew almost four times faster than overall work hours. Temporary staffing agencies now hire around 16 million temporary and contract workers a year, according to the staffing industry. However, many of those temporary jobs never transform into permanent jobs. Instead, the U.S. labor force has witnessed the growth of a subclass of “permatemps”—temp workers who work alongside permanent employees, typically for less money and fewer if any benefits, and are never hired directly—particularly in low-wage, blue collar work performed predominantly by people of color.

Part of why this happened is that, unlike most developed nations, the United States doesn’t regulate the basics of temp work, such as what kind of work temps can perform or how long someone can be considered a temp worker. Another factor is that temps’ future job prospects are often limited through broad no-hire provisions in contracts between staffing agencies and host employers. These no-hire terms may prohibit host employers from hiring temp workers directly or require the host employer to pay the staffing agency a fee (sometimes as high as 40% of temp workers’ annual salary) if it wants to hire a temp as an employee. These kinds of practices ensure that temp agencies keep getting their markup over temp workers’ wages, but they cut off pathways to better jobs and keep temp wages low, exacerbating income inequality and occupational segregation for people of color on a significant scale.

Change Needed

These are still dark days with recovery nowhere in sight. In the short term, we must do everything we can to protect temp workers’ basic health, safety, and economic needs. When we do begin to think ahead to economic recovery, we need to do so in a way that puts workers first. We need laws that allow for open labor market competition and pathways to permanent job opportunities and that return temp work to its intended function: providing labor for short-term needs only. Otherwise we risk repeating a cycle that put so many workers in the dire situation they are in today.

Article originally appeared at onlabor.org and is reproduced here as a service to Flexicrew clients and associates.

Flexicrew Staffing Supports Temp Worker Health & Safety

Flexicrew provides temp worker health, and economic benefits and safety training for its temporary workers.  Also, we conduct a facility tour and safety inspection of every client’s facility for each new assignment and periodically afterward.   These are intended to make sure our clients meet safety standards that minimize our associates’ safety risks.  If you would like us to provide some guidance on your safety situation, contact one of our professionals Today!

7 Preventable Work Safety Hazards Put Your Workers at Risk

June every year has been designated as National Safety Month. It may be hard to believe, but statistics indicate that a staggering 13,000 American workers are injured daily, and these injuries are preventable. Employers should not consider injuries to be one of costs of running a business. Safety of workers should be given top priority in every organization.

Some of the issues related to workplace safety which the National Safety Council (NSC) has focused on are discussed below. Staffing agencies also provide formal training and informal guidance for employees to prevent these problems.workplace safety collage

7 of the Most Common workplace safety causes are:


Adults usually require seven to nine hours sleep daily for optimal performance, yet approximately one third of workers sleep for six hours or less. This results in fatigue which adversely affects almost all aspects of our life. The tired employees do not have a good safety record. Fatigued individuals are thrice as likely to be involved in a car crash. Chronically sleep deprived individuals suffer from obesity, cardiovascular disease, depression and other illnesses.

Workplace Drug Usage

Using drugs at work adversely affects safety. Employers find that drug users may waste time, change jobs, require training and have more healthcare expenses. Workers with substance use disorders take 10.8 days more leave due to injury, illness and also miss work for 50% more days. When the disorder is caused due to pain medication, the worker will miss work for twenty nine days typically, which is nearly 3x the time other workers miss work. Recovering workers receiving treatment are likely to miss work for only 9.5 days.

Distracted Driving

To prevent accidents, NSC has developed a Kit for safe driving, so that business leaders formulate their policy for cell phone usage and inform their employees about it. Many businesses for greater safety ask or require their employees not to use their cell phone at the work place or driving.

Workplace Violence

Two million workers in the United States are victims of violence at the workplace every year. The violence can be categorized into criminal intent, worker-on-worker, client or customer and due to personal relationship usually involving women. The most dangerous situation is when an active shooter is involved. To prevent workplace violence and minimize its impact, employers should formulate its policy, train its employees and create a plan to deal with an emergency. While it may not be possible to predict an attack, there may be warning signs which could indicate violence in future.

Slips, Falls

Accidental deaths caused by slips, falls and trips are the third highest cause of unintentional deaths in the United States, only exceeded by poisoning, overdoes and vehicle accidents. Preventing falls should be a priority. While construction workers are most likely to suffer fatal falls while working at heights, these falls can take place in any work environment. Hence potential hazards should be identified so that the work can be planned properly, and the right equipment is used.

Overexertion,and Ergonomics

Overexertion is the main reason why people are unable to work, and also causes more than one-third of the injuries related to the workplace. Strength training, stretching and other exercises can prevent some injuries. Ergonomic injuries caused by excess stretching, pulling, pushing, lifting or similar reasons, can be reduced using ergonomic assessments of tasks.

Hit by Objects

While the employer is responsible for ensuring that the work environment is safe, the employees should also take measures to protect themselves. Workers operating machinery, motor vehicles and power tools should concentrate on their work and not get distracted since attention focused on the task is vital.workplace stress collage


Flexicrew conducts a workplace safety inspection with each new assignment and periodically thereafter.  If you would like us to provide some guidance on your safety situation, contact one of our professionals Today.



National Safety Month – Week 3


Hand injuries are the second leading type of injury on the job. 

  • Safeguard your hands. 
  • Always wear the proper PPE. 
  • Never place your hands where you cannot see them. 
  • Always remember that your hands are used for every task that you do every day; such as,
    • performing your job,
    • holding hands with that special someone,
    • picking up your son or daughter. 

If you have any questions regarding hand safety, please ask your Flexicrew representative.

National Safety Month – Week 2


Always wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at work or when doing tasks at home such as mowing the lawn or using a weed eater.

Examples of PPE are:

  • safety glasses,
  • hearing protection,
  • hard hat,
  • steel toe boots,
  • respiratory protections
  • gloves.

If you have questions regarding the proper PPE, please contact your Flexicrew Representative.

Ask the Flexpert…How can Organizations Improve Worker Safety?

June is National Safety Month.

According to the National Safety Council, injuries are the leading cause of death among working adults. Help your employees work safer, and create safer working environments.

Ask the Flexpert

7 Primary Workplace Hazards

There are seven primary hazards that the National Safety Council has recognized in the workplace. Here are Flexicrew’s tips to avoid accidents from them:

1. Working at Heights – Inspect all Ladder prior to use, maintain 3-point contact, and extension ladders must extend 3 feet above surface and be secured at the top.

2. Poor Housekeeping—If you see trash on the floor, clean it up.  If there is water on the floor, obtain a wet floor sign, notify your supervisor, and clean the water up off the floor.

3. Electrical – Extension Cords – Extension cords should only be used temporarily.  Only qualified electricians should work on electrical equipment.

4. Forklifts – Only authorized employees should operate a forklift.  Always wear the seat belt when operating the forklift.  Always follow safe procedures for picking up, putting down or stacking loads.  Do not take shortcuts when using a forklift.

5. Lockout/Tagout – Never use a machine that has a lockout/tagout on the equipment.  Contact your supervisor if you are asked to use any equipment that has a Lockout/Tagout place on it.

6. Hazardous Chemicals – Know what chemicals are in the workplace and where to locate the safety data sheets. 

7. Confined Spaces – Never enter a confined space without proper training, and permit signed by a competent person that space is safe for entry.

Flexicrew encourages your employees to learn more about safety not only on the job, but also while in their home.  Flexicrew encourages everyone to get involved in reducing injuries because the life you save may be your own.

Further Worker Safety Advice

If you would like more information on how to improve safety in your work environment or learn some of the many steps Flexicrew takes to insure our own family of workers, contact us today.

How to Communicate Safety Information to New Employees

Why communicate safety information when onboarding new employees?

The answer may seem obvious, but…communicate safety information to new employees

Studies show new workers have a higher risk of workplace injury than more experienced workers. Newly employed aren’t yet familiar with their workplace environment. Every workplace has different equipment, policies and procedures and its own safety conditions.  And, if unfamiliar, a new person is more likely to suffer an accident.  Firms must protect their most important asset – their employees – from harm.

Integrate Safety Information into New Hire Training

In the workplace, there are always a variety of safety dangers for recently hired workers. However, you can minimize the risk of a safety incident with new hires by including safety information in their onboarding training.

By effectively and completely communicating safety information, you can lower the chances of a new hire injury.

Here are some tips on how to get started…

Clearly Communicate All Safety Information

It’s too easy to take for granted that workers know and understand potential workplace hazards and safety procedures to avoid them.

You might think many of the hazards that are present in your workplace are preventable for a reasonable, cautious worker.  But, don’t presume your new hires understand these conditions or situations.  You need to be sure that all safety-related information needs to be clearly communicated and posted in obvious places in the environment.

Safety Information & Training during Onboarding

When a new hire first comes on board they spend their time pretty much at your discretion.  After all, they haven’t the experience to jump in and fully participate in the work process.  They’re often meeting co-workers, reading documents and “learning the ropes.”  Use that initial period to review company safety measures and regulations.  Emphasize key points of potential safety hazard and have them take a tour of the workplace. Highlight important info like hazardous materials, safety measures, location of emergency apparatus and first aid kits, etc. You should also make sure they have a list of emergency safety contacts with contact details.  Be clear-cut on who to alert if an incident occur or if they have safety concerns, questions or recommendations.

Safety Information Policy & Procedure Handouts & Posters

When you present the information during the onboarding process, it is wise to give each new hire a copy of relevant safety policies and procedures.  Allow them time to review the details as needed. This can easily be included in a employee handbook or as a separate document. By providing hard copies, you decrease the odds a worker will make a mistake simply because they weren’t informed. Make sure they read and grasped the information.  Test their knowledge of the most critical points and have them reread  topics they misunderstand.

Safety Information Ongoing Team Exchanges

As we mentioned above, providing safety information in onboarding is essential.  But it also should be a continuous mandatory exchange of experience and ideas. Workers forget safety principles and courses of action the longer it’s been since they first learned them. So having the entire team take part in recurrent exchanges helps embed the policies. This is particularly the case where standards often change.

Regardless, use a preventive approach to workplace safety.  That’s your best tactic.  So carefully instruct your recent employees on their work environment as well as all relevant rules and safety actions for their location.

Reduce Safety Risk by Using Employees from Flexicrew

Flexicrew can help you  learn more about safety policies and procedures or about seeking a skilled employee to join your company. Contact us to speak with an experienced member of our staff today and see how our talent staffing services can help your company succeed.


Ask the Flexpert…What is a JSA and should I be using them?

What is a JSA and should I be using them?


A JSA – Job Safety Analysis – is the most common type of general safety preparation employers can take against health and safety hazards on the job. It is usually a simple form that structures a quick hazard analysis that field supervision can use every day.


A JSA should be done before you start a task, after an accident or near miss, and if a new condition or hazard presents on the job.


How Do I use a JSA?

  1. Step back and examine the job you’re about to perform with fresh eyes, unclouded by routine and alert to potential hazards related to the scope of work. Be the detective and look for clues that you wouldn’t normally look for when performing your task.
  2. Look closely at how a job is done and what sort of tools and machinery people are working with.
  3. Notice any obvious hazards, then look deeper to see if you can uncover any hidden hazards. These are usually not intentionally hidden, they just might need a new set of objective eyes on them to notice the hazard.
  4. Are there controls in place already to prevent injury around the workplace hazards you have discovered? Discuss all hazards with the crew. Also discuss any controls that are in place to eliminate or mitigate them. Any hazards that have not been addressed should be documented and either mitigated or eliminated prior to starting work.
  5. If you’re working with a temp service or an employment agency, be sure to inform them of any hazards that employees need to be aware of.
  6. Everyone on the crew participates in the JSA. The people doing the job everyday are the best detectives!
  7. Fill out the document and get this paperwork in the hands of the Safety and Risk department or management ASAP.


Good detective work! You may have just saved a life.

JSA Job Safety Analysis

Flexicrew makes your recruiting a Slam Dunk!

Yes…March Madness has arrived with excitement and upsets.



POP QUIZ: How does March Madness Parallel Flexicrew’s mission?Basketball Cleanup Desk Set


We started kicking around that March Madness – filling out brackets and picking winners – parallels what we do at Flexicrew to build your workforce every day.


For March Madness, fans look at a wide number of teams, review their records and decide among them which they will advance in their brackets to the Sweet Sixteen. Likewise, Flexicrew reviews the resumes of possible candidates, screens them against several criteria, and decides which candidates should move forward in the recruiting process.


Finally, the March Madness Championship Game takes place where the two best teams play each other head-to-head and one of them wins.  Similarly, Flexicrew often compares two finalists in detail against each other and recommends to you our favorite candidate that we believe should get offered the job.


Like a perceptive team coach, Flexicrew recruiters search for and recruit good talent just the way a team needs to fill out various positions.


At the end of the day, whether it’s a basketball team or a work team, it’s all about picking capable people, having a winning attitude and how you play the game!


Flexicrew hopes to team up with you to provide winners. Look forward to a small gift coming your way in a few days to remind you of how Flexicrew can help YOU be the CHAMPION!


Your Flexicrew Team

Want lower Worker’s Comp Costs? Integrity Tests may be the answer

Lowering Workers’ Comp Claims:
Integrity Assessment Use Lowers Claims of Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation claims are significantly lower for employers conducting pre-employment integrity testing, according to a recent research report by the Journal of Business and Psychology. The April 2011 study compared screened vs. unscreened workers in the service, manufacturing, and health care industries and examined the effectiveness of using an integrity test to reduce the frequency and severity of worker compensation claims.

The researchers collected data from four different companies in four industries and found the same results in each company. After each company began using an integrity test in it’s hiring process, they found that over the next year those who had been screened with the integrity test had a significantly lower percent of worker compensation claims than those who had been hired before the integrity test screening began, even though accident statistics consistently show that new hires normally have the highest accident frequency rates.

According to the study, the average cost per employee was dramatically less, plus the average cost per accident was also lower. The average cost per claim for the screened group was only 67% as much as the unscreened group – which is substantial enough for employers to justify screening all their job applicants.

These results strongly support the idea that an integrity test would be expected to make a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of worker compensation accidents.

Flexicrew’s test
Flexicrew uses a 100 point integrity test in all of our hiring decisions. We help you make a better choice in your employees.


Few Tips to Remember for Grilling Outdoors!




For many, summer is coming to an end as schools are getting ready to go back into session and the transition into the fall season is approaching.  Those who are going to do last minute BBQ’s or outdoor grilling we have a few reminders for grill safety.  Between 2007 and 2011 the National Fire Protection Association reported 8,800 fires as a result in grilling with gas and charcoal grills.  It is very important to have safe grilling practices to prevent grill accidents in future.   Here are a few tips to remember:


  • Make sure it is a well ventilated area
  • Keep the grill stable
  • Wear safe clothing
  • Use Long-Handled utensils
  • Keep fire under control
  • DO NOT leave a grill unattended


When we work with fire things are able to get out of hand very quickly!  By doing the few simple tips above we can help to prevent tragedy from striking in our homes and families.  More information on grill safety can be found at Hearth, Patio, & Barbecue Association (HPBA.org) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA.org).