Are You Protecting Your Temporary Workers? Learn More

Fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for 12 percent or 542 of the 4,693 fatal work injuries reported in 2011 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Recently, there have been numerous fatalities involving temporary workers their first day on the job. Davis, a 20 year old contract worker at Bacardi Bottling plant was crushed by a palletizer machine as he was not trained on the lock-out and tag-out procedure.

Considering such cases, OSHA released a memorandum for Protecting the Safety and Health of Temporary Workers. Under this memo, Regional CSHO’s would focus on temporary workers at a site and whether they are exposed to a volatile condition.
Temporary Workers
For the purposes of gathering this information, “temporary worker” includes those who are working under a host employer/staffing agency employment structure. They would then assess if these workers have received the required training in a language and vocabulary they understand. In the case of any deviation, they would use a new OSHA Information System (OIS) Code – “TEMPWORKERS”. Other information captured would be 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).

What OSHA expects from you?

Thus, OSHA is concerned about temporary employee’s training and the manner in which work is done. It does not require employers to pay compensation benefits, but they are certainly responsible for temporary worker safety as they are for your own employees. All temporary staff should be provided with adequate Personal Protective Equipment as needed on the job. Additionally, employers must log all injuries sustained by temporary workers on your OSHA 300 log.

Under the Multi-Employer Work site Policy, the act creates two types of obligations:

(1) A “general duty” obligation running only to the employer’s own employees; and

(2) An obligation to obey all OSHA standards with respect to all employees, regardless of their employer.

Thus, with the economy continuing to be slow and employers trying to evade workers’ compensation, higher wages, union drives and the duty to ensure that their workers are citizens or legal immigrants; the number of temporary workers have been spiraling up over the years. In this scenario, employers need to insure a few action points:

  1. Coordinate with Temporary agencies to provide PPE and training, verifying results.
  2. Identify areas of training that need additional emphasis.
  3. Insure Temporary employees have PPE and knowledge required to perform the tasks given.
  4. Treat temporary employees the same as your employees by providing the same level of safety training. 

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