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How the 'gig economy' could be putting workers in danger

The so-called gig economy is a burgeoning part of the labor market. It consists of independent workers and freelancers who work temporary jobs as their own employers. And in fact, there are an estimated 75 million people workers making up this sector. 

Unfortunately, safety does not necessarily come in numbers. According to this CBS News report, gig workers -- especially those in specific trades -- are at a higher risk of workplace injury and illness than other workers.

Why the increased risk?

The article discusses a few factors that affect the number of accidents involving gig workers. These include:

  • Firms hiring less experienced or untrained workers for short-term projects
  • Failing to properly train short-term workers
  • Trade gig jobs attracting higher-risk workers, like seniors and those with disabilities 

The combination of an untrained, unsafe and non-permanent workforce contributes to a more dangerous work environment, putting people in more danger of being injured or killed. 

This is especially true when it comes to gig workers hired for construction, demolition and trade jobs. In these occupations, even minor oversights or mistakes can lead to a catastrophic accident.

Keeping gig workers safe

Gig workers should have the same expectation for a safe work environment as anyone else. However, the fact is that they often do not receive the same protective gear, training and employment benefits that permanent workers in their position may receive.

To keep workers in these roles safe, companies would be wise to vet job applicants thoroughly, with a special focus on training and experience. Additionally, workers should pay close attention to any workplace hazards that could result in an accident and comply with standard procedures for safety on every job.

Sadly, workplace accidents can and will still happen, despite people's best efforts; accidents that can be life-threatening. In these situations, it can be very complicated for workers to understand the legal and financial remedies that may be available to them. Therefore, discussing the situation and options with an attorney would be prudent.

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