For any staffing agency and host employer, protecting the health and safety of your temporary workers is critical. They’re entitled to the same level of protection as direct-hire workers, and they should always be given the same level of safety training as other employees.
In 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched the Temporary Worker Initiative. This initiative focuses on compliance with safety and health requirements when temporary workers are employed under the joint employment of a staffing agency and a host employer.
To prevent work-related illness or injury to temporary workers, OSHA recommends the following practices for staffing agencies and employers:
- Evaluate worksites. OSHA says that staffing agencies don’t need to be experts on specific workplace hazards, but they need to be aware of worksite conditions and potential hazards that workers can encounter.
- Conduct safety and health training and new project orientation. OSHA requires site- and task-specific safety and health training. Staffing agencies should provide workers with general safety and health training depending on the employee’s job assignment. And host employers must provide specific health and safety training for the employee’s job role.
- Investigate all incidents, illnesses and injuries. Work-related illness and injuries should always be recorded and investigated. The employer and staffing agency should work closely together to determine causes and recommend improvements that will prevent future injuries or illness.
- Maintain contact with workers. An open line of communication is key. Staffing agencies should have procedures in place to maintain contact with temporary workers, so workers can report any questions or incidents that happen on the job.
Should any OSHA violations involving a temporary worker take place, both the host employer and staffing agency can be held responsible. So follow the guidelines above, and be safe out there!
For additional information from OSHA about temporary worker safety, visit the following pages:
Protecting Temporary Workers | Recommended Practices | Help for Employers | OSHA Area Offices for CT