On May 21, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the American Staffing Association signed an agreement intended to provide ASA members and others with information, assistance and access to training resources for safeguarding the health and safety of temporary employees.
The agreement is also designed to make temporary employees aware of their rights, and organizations aware of their responsibilities.
In a press release, OSHA and ASA said they plan to work together on producing information for identifying and prevent workplace hazards, as well as building ways of communicating these materials to the relevant parties. The two organizations will work on producing information that identifies and prevents workplace hazards, as well as building ways of communicating such materials. Both organizations will also speak, exhibit, and appear at each other’s meetings, conferences and other events throughout the year.
Who is responsible for the safety of temporary employees?
According to OSHA’s official website, both the staffing firm and the company are responsible for the safety of temporary employees. The government agency mentioned it has concerns that some organizations may use temporary employees as a way to circumvent their compliance obligations under worker-protection laws.
Because temporary employees are frequently placed into a wide variety of jobs – including those with dangerous responsibilities – temporary employees are more prone than to workplace safety and health hazards and resulting negative consequences. OSHA has also expressed concern that temporary employees are often not given sufficient safety and health training by either their temporary staffing agency or the host company.
OSHA tips for both staffing and host companies
OSHA suggests both staffing companies and the companies where a temporary worker is employed have a role in employee safety, and each organization should consider what it can do to prevent or fix a safety hazard. For instance, a staffing firm might supply general safety and health training, while a host company could supply particular training customized to the selected workplace environment.
Communication between the agency and the host is of utmost importance to ensure the necessary protections are supplied for all temporary employees. The host company must be sure to inform the staffing firm of any and all hazards. Ignorance of any dangers in the workplace does not free a company from liability, according to OSHA.
Likewise, a staffing firm should ascertain what hazards exist within their clients’ work environment, and how to guarantee protection for temporary employees. The staffing firm has to inquire and validate that the host has provided a safe workplace, according to OSHA.
Finally, host employers must treat temporary employees like any other employees in conditions of training and safety measures.
At Cornerstone, we take the health and safety of our temporary and contract workers very seriously, and we know our clients have the same attitude.