Temporary Workers and Compliance Take Center Stage

recordkeepingThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently renewed its alliance with the American Staffing Association with the goal of protecting temporary employees from workplace hazards. All workers have the right to be safe, regardless of how long they have been on the job.

“It is part of our mission to make sure that at the end of every work shift, all temporary workers in the United States are able to go home safely to their families,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Through our continued alliance with the ASA, we will increase outreach to staffing agencies and host employers and provide information and education that is essential to protecting temporary workers.”

During the five-year agreement, OSHA and ASA will continue to educate workers about their rights, and train staffing firms and their clients on their responsibilities to protect workers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The partners will work together to distribute information on how to recognize and prevent workplace hazards, and to further develop ways of communicating such to staffing firms, host employers and temporary workers.

As we’ve reported earlier, both host employers and staffing agencies have roles: Most importantly, they share responsibility.

A key concept is that each employer should consider the hazards it is in a position to prevent and correct, and in a position to comply with OSHA standards. For example: staffing agencies might provide general safety and health training, and host employers provide specific training tailored to the particular workplace equipment/hazards.

  • The key is communication between the agency and the host to ensure that the necessary protections are provided.
  • Staffing agencies have a duty to inquire into the conditions of their workers’ assigned workplaces. They must ensure that they are sending workers to a safe workplace.
  • Ignorance of hazards is not an excuse.
  • Staffing agencies need not become experts on specific workplace hazards, but they should determine what conditions exist at their client (host) agencies, what hazards may be encountered, and how best to ensure protection for the temporary workers.
  • The staffing agency has the duty to inquire and verify that the host has fulfilled its responsibilities for a safe workplace.

For more information, contact our offices at Diversified Safety Services.

 

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