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Workers being temps doesn't make them disposable

Most employers in Illinois have an obligation to make sure their workers are as safe on the job as they possibly can be. When they come up short in that regard, workers' compensation is the insurance protection that is intended to make sure that an injured worker gets necessary care.

That coverage isn't just for emergency care at the moment of the incident, but all the treatment and therapeutic help that may be required to assist the worker in making as full a recovery as possible.

Unfortunately, not all employers keep on top of their worker safety obligations. And in some instances, as in the case of temporary workers, it can seem as if the employees on the line are viewed as little more than expendable resources.

That, of course, is not the case, as a recent notice from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reinforced. Regulators moved to find a metal manufacturing company in Illinois $70,000 for allowing conditions to exist that resulted in a 21-year-old temporary employee losing six of his fingers.

According to investigators, the man had been on the job a month. He lost his fingers as he was hand-feeding product into a metal press. Officials said the devastating loss could have been prevented if the company had used proper safety guards on the machine.

Obviously, this young man's life has been altered forever because of the allegedly improper actions of his employer. And just because he was a temporary worker doesn't mean he doesn't have a right to expect that his claims for workers' compensation coverage will be honored. There might also be cause to consider whether the employer deserves to be held liable for more than just workers' compensation benefits.

To get such an assessment it would be best to consult with an experienced attorney.

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