The summer hiring season is just around the corner, and that can mean bringing on temporary workers to your job sites. These workers may or may not be as experienced as your regular employee crews, and may or may not have received the level and quality of safety training your company provides.
In 2013, OSHA launched an initiative to protect temporary workers (TWI). The administration directed their field inspectors as follows:
“Inspectors will use a newly created code in their information system to denote when temporary workers are exposed to safety and health violations. Additionally, they will assess whether temporary workers received required training in a language and vocabulary they could understand. The memo, which can be viewed at http://s.dol.gov/ZM, underscores the duty of employers to protect all workers from hazards.”
The initiative focuses on compliance with safety and health requirements when temporary workers are employed under the joint (or dual) employment of a staffing agency and a host employer. Be sure you understand your responsibilities as well as those of the staffing agency with whom you contract additional workers. OSHA and NIOSH put together a “Recommended Practices” bulletin to help employers and staffing agencies “better protect temporary workers through mutual cooperation and collaboration."
These recommended practices include:
- Evaluate the Host Employer’s Worksite
- Train Agency Staff to Recognize Safety and Health Hazards
- Ensure the Employer Meets or Exceeds the Other Employer’s Standards
- Assign Occupational Safety and Health Responsibilities and Define the Scope of Work in the Contract
- Conduct Safety and Health Training and New Project Orientation (First Aid, Medical Treatment, and Emergencies)
- Maintain Contact with Workers
Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Requirements for Temporary Workers
A particular area of concern revolves around injuries and illness recordkeeping. Does the worker report an injury to the employer or the staffing agency, and how does that work on the OSHA 300 log? The first OSHA bulletin put out under the TWI project delves into that very topic and is worth downloading and reviewing to ensure incidents are recorded properly.
Familiarizing yourself with these best practices and your obligations as an employer of temporary workers will help keep everyone safe at your jobsites, no matter how long their tenure with your organization is.