What do the landscapers, peach growers, ski resorts, and the National Western Stock Show all have in common? They rely on seasonal employees to keep their operations humming during peak season.
Whether for Black Friday or the sweet corn harvest, tens of thousands of workers take temporary positions to meet the demands of Colorado businesses throughout the year. While seasonal work offers flexibility and often attractive wages, it also presents unique challenges, particularly concerning workplace injuries. But with an awareness of the issues, and solid workers’ compensation insurance, you’ll have a successful peak season.
Let’s dig into some of the most common questions and challenges.
Are temporary workers covered by workers’ comp?
Yes! If a seasonal worker is on your payroll, they are covered by your workers’ compensation policy. In fact, your policy doesn’t differentiate between year-round and temporary workers. If they work for you, they’re covered.
When your business is covered, your injured employees will get the medical treatment they need and lost pay if they aren’t able to work while they recover.
What happens if a seasonal worker is hurt on the job?
If a temporary employee is injured on the job, your workers’ comp policy treats them the same as a regular employee. You might be unfamiliar with the claims process, but it’s pretty simple:
- Report the claim
- Get treatment
- Return to work
- Close the claim
If the employee misses time on the job, we’ll calculate their Average Weekly Wage to determine their lost-time benefits. This can be a little tricky with seasonal workers, but we have a lot of experience ensuring that benefits accurately reflect the work and pay they receive throughout the year.
Some seasonal employees move a lot to follow the demand for their specialized skills, which can make it difficult to coordinate medical care. But because we cover nearly one million Colorado workers, we’ve seen it all and are ready to ensure the right benefits are delivered and the claim gets closed in a timely fashion.
Unique safety challenges
Seasonal workers bring value by being at the right place at the right time for your business. But that convenience may come at the expense of experience. Some seasonal workers will be unfamiliar with your workplace, your equipment, and even the nature of the work itself. This inexperience can lead to workplace injuries. In fact, seasonal employees are 50% more likely to be injured on the job than year-round workers.
Here are some ways to prevent injuries and disruptions to your operations:
- Provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for your seasonal employees. They may not be with you for long, but they need the right gear to do the job safely. If you don’t have the right PPE, give the employee a stipend to buy their own.
- Offer safety training in the employees’ native language. Temporary workers come to Colorado from all over world, and they need to understand safety regulations. OSHA now offers training in 16 different languages, including Spanish, Somali and Vietnamese.
- Provide job-specific safety training and highlight common hazards. Even if a temporary worker has worked for you in the past, you’ll want to refresh them on the work and the environment and highlight any changes.
The bottom line is that seasonal workers deserve to work in a safe environment.
Hiring seasonal workers raises some complex issues, but a clear understanding of your coverage, the claims process, and effective safety efforts will ensure you’re covered when you’re busiest.
Pinnacol Assurance assumes no responsibility for management or control of customer safety activities. Please ensure your business meets the requirements of all federal, state, and local laws, regulations, or ordinances related to workplace safety.