The short answer to this question is yes, seasonal workers in PA are covered by workers' compensation. Seasonal workers have the same right to workers' compensation as a part or full-time worker injured on the job. The difficult part often relates to proving the claim because seasonal workers may also be covered by a temp agency that secured them a job.
Nonprofit corporations, unincorporated businesses, and companies with only one worker must comply with the Workers' Compensation Act's (Act) requirements. If you own a business in Pennsylvania and have workers, you are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance for all employees.
Whether you are a seasonal worker or a full-time worker, if you are injured on the job, immediately tell your employer, record what happened, and file a claim as soon as possible. Seek medical help quickly and get a full report from the doctor about the injuries and recommended treatment. The more of a paper trail you have, the better your claim. Insurance companies usually go out of their way to not pay benefits to seasonal employees.
Who hired you for work?
If you are a seasonal worker, one question is very important - “Who hired you for the job?” This is essential because if you were hired via a temp agency, your employer may insist you be covered under the temp agency's workers' compensation insurance.
If you are not sure about your employment status and who is responsible for covering workers' compensation, read the employment contract to find out who is responsible for covering you should you be injured.
Some workers are covered by other compensation laws, such as longshoremen, federal civilian employees, shipyard and harbor workers, and railroad workers. Others that may not be covered include casual workers, field laborers, domestics, volunteer workers, and those with a religious exemption from the Act.
Pennsylvania law says any worker injured on the job is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, whether that person is performing full-time, part-time, or seasonal work. Each situation is different and speaking to an experienced workers' compensation attorney can put you on the right path to securing benefits if you are a seasonal worker.
If you work for a company that does not have workers' compensation insurance or they are not self-insured, you may qualify for benefits from the Uninsured Employer Guaranty Fund.
Seasonal work is done quickly
Seasonal work is often associated with the time of the year. However, seasonal work also means a shorter window of time for workers to get their jobs done. Rushing can result in mistakes, sloppy work habits, accidents, and injuries.
Job tasks, workplace environment, use of tools and materials, machine operation, and machine-paced work affect workers. The following workplace exposures are associated with injuries:
- Manual handling – lifting, bending, pivoting, repetitive motion
- Forceful exertions – to lift heavy or awkward objects
- Highly repetitive motions with short work cycles – working on an assembly line
- Awkward postures of the neck, trunk, and extremities – climbing ladders, loading cargo
- Whole-body or segmental vibration – exposure to jackhammers and other tools that cause vibrations
- Mechanical contact stress from work positions or handling of tools and equipment – continually bent over while work on an assembly line or handling a job that requires repetitive movements
- High levels of ambient noise – working in a factory or on an assembly line
- Extreme temperatures – working with materials that need to be molded or welded
- Work performed from heights – climbing scaffolding, working without regulation safety equipment
- Work performed around operating machinery – getting hair, clothing, or body parts caught in the moving machinery
Some of the more common injuries sustained by seasonal workers include:
- Broken bones
- Back pain
- Crush injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Shoulder and neck injuries
- Pelvic and hip injuries
Workers' compensation claims can be complicated. At Melaragno, Placidi & Parini, we walk you through your legal rights, filing a claim, and let you know how to move forward in seeking benefits. The first consultation is free. Call us today.