Temporary workers should be protected from the sudden release of stored energy just as permanent workers are.

That reminder from OSHA comes in a newly issued bulletin on lockout/tagout that explains the joint responsibility of host employers and staffing agencies to ensure that temporary employees are properly protected against this serious – potentially fatal - workplace hazard.

From the bulletin:

“Temporary workers are entitled to the same protections under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the OSH Act) as all other covered workers. When a staffing agency supplies temporary workers to a business, typically, the staffing agency and the staffing agency’s client, commonly referred to as the host employer, are joint employers of those workers. Both employers are responsible for determining the conditions of employment and complying with the law.

“The lockout/tagout standard addresses the practices and procedures necessary to prevent the sudden release of hazardous energy while workers perform servicing or maintenance activities. The standard lists measures for controlling various types of energy, including electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, and other energy sources that could be hazardous if not controlled.”

Prior to beginning work, both employers should review the task assignments and job hazards to identify, eliminate, and control the release of hazardous energy before workers perform service or maintenance on machinery.

To read about the requirements in more detail click here.

This bulletin is part of a series of guidance documents that focuses on compliance with safety and health requirements for temporary workers.