OSHAIn a memo sent Monday to OSHA’s regional administrators, Director of Enforcement Programs Thomas Galassi said the agency is making a “concerted effort” to better protect temporary workers from workplace hazards using enforcement, outreach and training.

Citing the large number of temporary workers in the U.S. and recent high profile fatal incidents, Galassi instructed agency personnel to gather and track information during inspections and investigations of worksites where temporary workers are employed.

Death during first days on a job

“In recent months, we have received a series of reports of temporary workers suffering fatal injuries during the first days on a job,” he wrote. “In some cases, the employer failed to provide safety training or, if some instruction was given, it inadequately addressed the hazard, and this failure contributed to their death.”

Galassi directed the regional administrators to have Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) in their regions who determine, when conducting investigations, whether any employees are temporary workers and whether any of the identified temporary employees are exposed to a violative condition.

Training in a language worker understands

“In addition, CSHOs should assess- using records review and interviews - whether those workers have in fact received required training in a language and vocabulary they understand. Recent inspections have indicated problems where temporary workers have not been trained and were not protected from serious workplace hazards due to lack of personal protective equipment when working with hazardous chemicals and lack of lockout/tagout protections, among others.

OSHA has created a new OIS code for temporary workers to enable CSHOs to enter the information in a database. In addition, when encountering temporary workers during the scope of an inspection, CSHOs must document the name of the temporary workers' staffing agency, the agency's location, and the supervising structure under which the temporary workers are reporting (i.e., the extent to which the temporary workers are being supervised on a day-to-day basis either by the host employer or the staffing agency).

OSHA previously addressed issues affecting temporary workers and leased employees in several letters of interpretation and directives. The agency also issued citations regarding lack of protection to such workers, most recently citing Bacardi Bottling Corporation following the death of a 21-year old temporary worker on his first day on the job.

Click here to read a Center for Public Integrity story about one temp worker's death, "They Were Not Thinking of Him as a Human Being."