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Germany – Temporary work “danger to health”

14 March 2012

Temporary workers are sick more than their permanent counterparts and although temps have the same rights as those on full-time contracts, the reality looks different, warns a medical paper in the country, Aerzte Zeitung

Unions in Germany have long argued that temporary workers endanger their health as they are more prone to work accidents, and although many deal with “dangerous substances” they are allegedly not given sufficient protective clothing.

While the stance of German unions towards temporary work has generally been hostile, doctors in the country now also warn of the “perils” of temporary work.

“Temporary workers have a higher potential for danger than permanent employees because they often undertake heavy physical work,” said Dr. Jens Petersen who leads the accident insurance of temporary employment agencies in Germany. He also said that the work temporary staff undertake has a negative impact on their skin if they deal with chemical substances, while many also work in “noise-polluted” environments.

A study by an insurance firm, TK, showed that temporary workers are often over-burdened by poor working conditions and every third of the over 1,000 respondents said that the danger to suffer an injury at work is particularly high.

The medical paper has now warned that many employers do not comply with current regulations which should give temporary workers the same protection as permanent employees.

“Health and safety for temporary workers is sufficiently dealt with by law,” commented Dr Petersen. But nonetheless firms are accused of endangering the health of their temporary workers by ignoring basic regulations and medics demand that temporary work should become “more attractive” in the future. 

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