Protecting the Safety and Health of Temporary Workers

On April 29, 2013, OSHA launched the Temporary Worker Initiative (TWI) The purpose of this initiative was to increase OSHA’s focus on temporary workers in order to highlight employers’ responsibilities to ensure these workers are protected from workplace hazards.

Statistics show temporary workers are exposed to increased risks of work-related injury and illness. Why is this the case? It seems they were not provided with proper training in the task they were hired to perform. (Staffing agencies typically only provide general safety and health training, not task specific.)

It is the Host employer’s responsibility to provide specific training tailored to the particular workplace equipment/hazards.

OSHA has received and investigated many reports of temporary workers suffering serious or fatal injuries, some in their first days on the job. Numerous studies have shown new workers risk for work-related injury are greatly increased, and most temporary workers will be “new” workers multiple times a year.

Here are a few key items that need to be considered when employing temporary workers:

  1. Does the Host Employer  have a written agreement/contract with the Temporary Staff Agency?
  2. Does the Host Employer have a certificate of insurance from the Temporary Staff Agency?
  3. Do you know what type of training the Temp employee has received from the Staff Agency?
  4. Train your Temp Employees like you would train your own employees

Quote from OSHA David Michaels “Host employers need to treat temporary workers as they treat existing employees. Temporary staffing agencies and host employers share control over the employee, and are therefore jointly responsible for temp employee’s safety and health. It is essential that both employers comply with all relevant OSHA requirements.”

This is a Joint Responsibility between the Employer and the Temp Service Agency

Staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers – including, for example, ensuring that OSHA’s training, hazard communication, and recordkeeping requirements are fulfilled.

Protecting Temporary Workers – Recommended Practices

OSHA has 7 Temporary worker initiative bulletin’s: