The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recently released Recommended Practices for staffing agencies and host employers to better protect temporary workers from hazards on the job.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels offered this insight: “An employer’s commitment to the safety of temporary workers should not mirror these workers’ temporary status. Whether temporary or permanent, all workers always have a right to a safe and healthy workplace. Staffing agencies and the host employers are joint employers of temporary workers and both are responsible for providing and maintaining safe working conditions.”
OSHA’s Temporary Worker Initiative, launched in 2013, includes outreach, training, and enforcement to ensure temporary workers are protected in their workplaces.
“Workers sent by a staffing agency to a worksite deserve the same level of protection from workplace hazards as the host employer’s workers do,” said NIOSH Director John Howard. “Recognizing that temporary workers are often new to the workplace to which they are sent, we believe these recommended practices will provide a strong foundation for host employers and staffing agencies to work together to provide a comprehensive program that protects the safety and health of all workers.”
The new guidance recommends that staff agency/host employer contracts clearly define the temporary worker’s tasks and the safety and health responsibilities of each employer. Staffing agencies should maintain contact with temporary workers to verify that the host has fulfilled its responsibilities for a safe workplace.
The Recommended Practices publication is available at http://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3735.pdf*. Additional information and resources on temporary workers can be accessed at https://www.osha.gov/temp_workers/.