Temporary workers: Best practices for safety success
Today’s changing workforce and regulations involving temporary workers was the topic Melanie Nykamp, a senior risk management consultant, and Greg Clone, a supervisor of regional risk management.
There are new and changing risks associated with the aging workforce, unskilled workers and issues such as opioid abuse and distracted driving, Nykamp said. Often temporary workers are brought in for staffing shortages and sometimes that brings about questionable safety practices and training, she said.
A study done by Business Insurance in January 2019 found that 40 percent of U.S. employees left new jobs within 12 months of being hired, and 40 percent of serious injuries occurred within 12 months of a new employee’s job. The solution, Nykamp and Clone said, is to increase safety training and diligent ongoing instruction with new employees.
Under OSHA’s Temporary Staffing Initiative says temporary workers are entitled to the same protection under the OSHA Act of 1970. The idea is to treat temporary workers the same as your own.
The host employer should be responsible for ensuring proper PPE for temp workers, offering site-specific training and reporting incidents to the staffing agency. They should also assist with any accident investigations.
Common problems include high turnover, injuries and increased costs. The solutions are to create systems and processes to avoid these issues. Increase communication, embrace the new employee marketplace and strive for changing the culture, Nykamp said.
The primary objective should be preparation for the hiring process by training and providing PPE, Nykamp and Clone said. The secondary objective should be retention by supervising the employee, checking in with them and including them in the workplace culture.