An incident in Alabama is drawing attention to the question of who is liable for an injury to a subcontractor. A work release inmate was killed at the Kochs poultry plant in Ashland, Alabama on October 29th, 2017. The full circumstances of the worker’s death are under investigation.
Though work release programs such as this are not available in every state, many manufacturers all over the country use temp agencies or other methods of hiring short-term workers through outside agencies. The outside agency is in charge of payroll and benefits for the workers, but the workers frequently perform duties as assigned by the manufacturer. Manufacturers use this to avoid hiring full-time staff to accommodate fluctuations in orders.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has guidelines and guidance in place in regards to who is responsible for these workers. In most cases, the responsibility falls on whichever business is responsible for assigning duties, but there are exceptions in certain scenarios. The majority of the time the manufacturer and not the temp agency are assigning duties and are responsible for injuries.
Generally, most manufacturers maintain workman’s compensation insurance on all their regular employees, but temporary workers might not fall under this coverage. When someone is injured or killed, it can be difficult to determine who is covered and the extent of the coverage. All too often, it is the worker or the worker’s family who ends up finding out that sufficient coverage does not exist.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed on the job, navigating the red tape of OSHA requirements and insurance coverages is usually overwhelming. Please, consult with an experienced attorney who can help you determine who holds responsibility for the accident that occurred.