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Ensuring Temporary Workers Safety

Did you know that temporary workers face more risks than full time employees?

Employers and Agencies alike share a responsibility of ensuring temporary workers receive adequate training and work in a non-hazardous environments. If found in violation of OSHA standards of safety and health the Employer and Staffing Agency will jointly share responsibility. To avoid a potential risk this blog will provide clarity and understanding of the risks temporary workers face while providing a Temporary Worker Safety Checklist to improve your organizations safety practices.

Temporary Workers numbers are on the rise with more and more companies realizing the benefits of this workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in February 2005 there were 1.5 million workers that identified as “temporary-help agency workers” in the workplace; in 2013, the number of these workers doubled from 2005 to 2.8 million. These numbers do not reflect the entire temporary employee’s workforce. The consulting group MBO Partners found that self-employed workers, temporary and others increased from 16 million in 2011 to 17 million in 2012. These numbers show that the workforce of temporary workers is growing and the cause of this increase is mainly due to the benefits economically for the company.

“In theory, these workers are cheaper than a full-time worker (because) the host employer is not providing the benefits and overhead that a full-time worker could get,” said Scott Harris, director of EHS advisory Services for Underwriters Laboratory. When a temporary worker is hired they may not be provided the full amount of training a full-time employee would normally receive and in addition may lack overall knowledge of hazards they face on the job. Temporary workers may also be unaware of their legal right to decline work if they feel that the environment is hazardous.

OSHA’s attention to temporary worker has increased because of the rise incidents and deaths associated with this workforce. Scenarios of lack of training, no protective gear and lack of knowledge of the working environment are all common circumstances that temporary workers face. Below is our Temporary Worker Checklist that can help develop a strategy around providing workplace safety for temporary workers.

1. Staffing Agencies must inquire into the condition of the workplace that they assign workers. The environment that they send workers’ must be safe.
2. The Host Employer and Staffing Agency must communicate to ensure the necessary protections are provided. (Example – protective gear, safety vest, etc.)
3. Staffing Agencies must inquire and verify that the host employer has fulfilled its responsibilities for a safe workplace.
4. Host Employer must treat temporary workers like any other workers in terms of training, safety and health protections.
5. Ignorance of hazards is not an excuse

The Temporary Worker’s Safety Checklist is a guide and when followed could help mitigate the risk that these workers face. To learn more about OSHA best practices and how to ensure that you are prepared for an inspection please download our guide Preparing for an OSHA Safety Inspection. This guide will feature reasons for inspection, elimination of hazards inspectors will likely look for and further advice for how to handle the process and to react to certain instances.

References:

Protecting Temporary Workers Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA. Retrieved July 7,2017, from https://www.osha.gov/temp_workers/index.html

Morrison, Kyle W. Safety for temporary workers, Health Safety, National Safety Council. Retrieved July 7, 2017, from http://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/10604-safety-for-temporary-workers

 

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