Here’s What They Risk Just By Going To Work. At 1:05, My Jaw Is On The Floor.

Eric March Curator:

If you've ever worked part time, you know it can mean long hours and low pay. But for some, it's scary how dangerous it can be. Especially for those who can't complain.

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Narrator: There are 2.9 million temporary workers in the United States according to the Department of Labor. These employees are hired by third-party temp agencies but spend years distributing products for the biggest chain stores in the country. Because temp workers are mostly undocumented, they're more vulnerable to suffering labor abuse and accidents on the job. According to an investigation from the non-profit ProPublica, temp workers suffer a large number of work accidents.

Male: Temp workers are at significantly greater risk than regular workers, sometimes to great degrees when you look at things like crushing injuries or amputations.

Narrator: According to the investigation the rate of work accidents among temp workers is higher than in permanent workers in the five states where there is available data. In Minnesota the rate is 73% higher. In Oregon, 67%. Fifty percent in Florida. In California, 46%. And in Massachusetts, 36%. William Garcés is a lawyer who defends temp workers. He explained that they don't get any disability and in states like New Jersey, they get paid per injury according to a chart.

Male: And what it does is divides the human body into pieces, like a meat market. Every part of your body has a value, so your fingers are worth so much, your hand is worth so much, your arm is worth so much, your back is worth so much, your eyes. Every part of your body has a value and it's on this chart, it's on a table.

Narrator: In 2012, the last year with any stats on record, 715 temp workers were killed on the job. That's 13 a week. Janio Salinas didn't think his day would come on a Monday morning in Pennsylvania. He arrived promptly at his job as a crane operator in a sugar-packing company. He had gotten the gig through a temporary agency. The packing company uses a funnel to fill the sacks of sugar and it's common for the product to get stuck in blocks. That day, several workers tried to clean it without any success. They took a break and went to lunch, but Janio stayed trying to do it by himself. His brother John explains what happened next.

John: [foreign language].

Narrator: Almost 20 minutes passed before someone noticed he was gone. When the search for Janio intensified, the rescue teams found this image. OSHA, the federal agency that investigates these accidents, stated that the sugar-packing company had installed a platform to avoid workers getting stuck into the mound, but they later removed it because it lowered production. In this cemetery, in Berlington, Pennsylvania, rest the remains of Janio Salinas. Every time his brother comes here it's inevitable to think that his death could have been avoided had the company valued human life over revenue.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

This frightening report was muckraked by the Tomás Ocaña and the folks at Fusion Live. You can get the latest from both Tomás and Fusion on Twitter. And look! Fusion is also on Tumblr. Check it out, why don't you?

Jul 22, 2014

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