In 2013, the staffing industry in America employed 3 million temporary and contract workers. In an effort to ensure the safety of the growing population of temporary workers, OSHA has launched its Temporary Worker Initiative, using a 3 pronged approach of enforcement, outreach, and training to achieve its goals.
This new initiative makes both the staffing agency and host employer (as Primary and Secondary Employers) responsible for the safety and well-being of temp workers. As a first step, OSHA released an educational bulletin in March with important guidance on protecting temporary workers. In the event of injury or illness, OSHA has stipulated recording requirements to clarify responsibilities of the staffing agency and host employer for recording the incident in its occupational injury and illness log and reporting the information to OSHA.
Improving Temp Worker Safety:
According to analysts, temporary workers prone to injury or worse when they report to new jobs, due to the following reasons:
Guidance on Recording Injuries and Illnesses:
Consider this scenario. Many times, a staffing agency agrees to send workers to a host employer, along with a team lead to help with communication – as many of the workers cannot speak English well.
The Duties of a Staffing Agency:
OSHA requires staffing agencies to describe work conditions and environment in contractual agreements with every contract worker. In addition, OSHA expects staffing agencies to stay connected to the workers they assign to a client’s workplace. Information about any injury or illnesses related to workplace conditions is expected to be shared between the agency and the host employer. The staffing agency is expected to address any safety issue with the host employer and ensure the protection of the workers. The host employer is also expected to report any incident to the staffing agency. Both the staffing agency and the host employer are forbidden to retaliate against any worker who reports unsafe work conditions.
OSHA upholds the rights of workers to a safe workplace and will prosecute any industry or business which fails to provide it to them. We shall bring you more updates, as OSHA continues its efforts towards this initiative.
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