Today's News / Compliance / Occupational Safety

OSHA clarifies responsibility for temp worker safety

Memo reminds compliance officers that temps are at increased risk of injury, death

workerOSHA has issued a policy background memo to its field staff as part of its focus on preventing work-related injuries and illnesses among temporary workers. In the memo, the agency reminds OSHA field staff of the agency's long standing general enforcement policy regarding temporary workers.

"Too often in recent months, it has been OSHA's sad duty to investigate fatalities and injuries involving temporary workers who were not given the necessary safety and health protections required under the Act," wrote Thomas Galassi, director of OSHA's directorate of enforcement programs.

They'll be "new" workers multiple times a year

“As detailed in the documents posted on our website (www.osha.gov/temp_workers), temporary workers are at increased risk of work-related injury and illness,” according to the memo. “Numerous studies have shown that new workers are at greatly increased risk for work-related injury, and most temporary workers will be "new" workers multiple times a year. Furthermore, as the American economy and workforce are changing, the use of temporary workers is increasing in many sectors of the economy.”

The memo reminds OSHA compliance officers – who regularly encounter worksites with temporary workers -- that temporary workers are entitled to the same protections under the OSH Act as all other covered workers. As joint employers, both the host employer and the staffing agency have responsibilities for protecting the safety and health of temporary workers.

Contracts don't supercede the OSH Act

“OSHA compliance officers should review any written contract(s) between the staffing agency and the host employer and determine if it addresses responsibilities for employee safety and health. It should be understood, however, that the contract's allocation of responsibilities may not discharge either party's obligations under the Act.”

“The extent of the obligations each employer has will vary depending on workplace conditions and may be clarified by their agreement or contract. Their duties will sometimes overlap.”

Communication is key

When a worker is injured, OSHA says both employers must communicate with each other to determine what measures are to be implemented to prevent future injuries from occurring.

“For example, if a temporary worker is injured at a host employer worksite, the host employer should inform the staffing agency of the injury, and the staffing agency, in turn, should follow-up about preventive actions taken. Similarly, if a staffing agency learns of a temporary worker's injury (through, for example, the filing of a workers' compensation claim), the staffing agency should inform the host employer to help ensure that preventive measures are taken before additional workers are injured.

“When investigations reveal a temporary worker exposed to a violative condition, and the worker is considered to be employed by both a staffing agency and a host employer, OSHA will consider issuing citations to either or both of the employers, depending on the specific facts of the case.”

Click here to read the complete memo.

More information is available on OSHA's Protecting Temporary Workers Web page.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

ASSE Safety 2014 Review

A gallery of photos from the sprawling Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, where ASSE’s annual professional development conference was held June 8-11. All photos courtesy of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

9/30/14 2:00 pm EST

Leveraging Sustainability Initiatives to Benefit Your Community and Increase Compliance

This webinar will review how General Motors' Sustainability initiatives are being leveraged to improve the community and the environment, create efficient energy programs, improve sustainability tracking, impact on processes and overall reporting and improve overall social, environmental and corporate sustainability.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN SEPTEMBER 2014 COVER

2014 September

ISHN'S September issue features a series of essay on thought leadership. Get expert advice on self-motivation, compliance and more!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - SEPTEMBER 2014

ISHN FDO SEPTEMBER 2014For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THE SEPTEMBER 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.