OSHA Focusing on Safety of Temporary Workers

OSHA Focusing on Safety of Temporary Workers

Temp worker with back injuryDid you know that your business is just as responsible for the safety of a temporary employee in your workplace as you are for one of your own employees?

In fact, last April OSHA announced an initiative to address and enforce temporary worker safety at client sites.

New employees are more at risk of injury:

It’s a fact that new workers, when they first start a job, are at a greater risk of injury, because they haven’t yet been adequately trained in the potential hazards at the new job site and the methods they need to utilize to protect themselves.

It’s just logical that temporary employees are then at a greater risk of injury, since they may, in fact, have many first days on many new jobs throughout the year.

Staffing companies & clients are equally responsible for temporary workers’ safety:

Under the law, both the staffing company and the client are jointly responsible for the temporary workers’ safety. OSHA requires the client company to treat the temporary employee as their own when it comes to safety.

In most cases the temporary worker is under the supervision and control of the client. Because of this, OSHA requires any temporary employee’s on-the-job injuries or illnesses to be recorded on the client company’s OSHA 300 log.

It also requires that the client inform the temporary employee about any hazardous chemicals present in the workplace.

Temporary workers need the same safety training as regular employees:

Going beyond this, OSHA’s Assistant Secretary of Labor, David Michaels, said “Host employers need to treat temporary workers as they treat existing employees.”

This means that temporary employees must:

  • Receive the exact same safety training that any new employee of the client would receive when they start a new job
  • Be included in all ongoing safety training
  • Be provided with all required personal protective equipment

OSHA is focusing on temporary worker safety:

OSHA is concerned that client companies may not want to take the time to provide safety training to a temporary employee that may only be on the job for a few days.

Knowing that temp workers are at higher risk for injury, OSHA is putting an increased focus on their safety during inspections of businesses utilizing temporary employees.

Since the announcement of this initiative in April, almost 300 violations have been cited at workplaces where temporary workers were present, and both the host companies and the staffing companies were cited.

The most frequent violations included:

  • Electrical hazards
  • Lock out/tag out protections
  • Machine guarding
  • Fall protection
  • Hazard communication
  • Powered industrial trucks

The wrap-up:

No one benefits when an employee is injured, so partnering for safety is in everyone’s best interests.

The key is understanding how the employee, the staffing company and the client company can work best together to provide excellent communication, appropriate and timely safety training, and a safe work environment.

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