Most of you can say that, over the past few weeks, friends and colleagues have wished you a “happy and healthy New Year”. Add the National Safety Council (NSC) to your list of well-wishers. In a recent development, the NSC has urged staffing agencies and their clients to share responsibility and take joint actions to ensure the health and safety of temporary and contract workers. Recognizing that there are currently more than 17 million workers taking on temporary assignments, the non-profit organization has issued a list of recommendations for staffing buyers on how to ensure the safety of temporary workers.
The NSC recommends that employers:
Safety statistics from almost every state in America show that temporary workers are at a higher risk of suffering injuries at the workplace. This is generally attributed to being new to the job. Temporary workers also frequently find that they are not provided with adequate training and safety gear before being placed in hazardous situations.
Workers do not have to be in “hazardous” environments involving hazardous chemicals, heavy machinery, tools and equipment to be at risk of injury. A worker is not protected from injury in climate-controlled office spaces, seated on comfortable chairs and working with computers.
Let’s add a few items to the NSC’s recommendations to employers that we believe increase the safety of the workplace.
One final thought. A good way to ensure a safe working environment is to encourage all workers – permanent employees as well as those on temporary assignment – to report and escalate any early warning signs of a hazard. Establish regular, two-way safety communication with every individual working at your facilities. Establish a feedback system so that all workers know that their suggestions or observations have been addressed. Take steps to ensure that your safety updates have been acknowledged and incorporated into standard operating procedures.
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