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September 24, 2014

OSHA and NIOSH Release Best Practice Guidelines For Temporary Worker Safety

Temporary WorkerThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have released a joint “best practices” document for protecting temporary workers on the job site. Written for both staffing agencies and host employers, the document stresses that both groups need to work together to be in compliance with the OSH Act. 

Following is a list some of those practices, with key information for each one. The document stresses that the info is for guidance, and that legal research should be conducted in order to identify what is legally required by all parties.

Evaluate the Host Employer’s Work site
Before an employer hires a staffing agency, both should work together to review all work sites in which the temporary worker might be sent. Task assignments and job hazards should also be identified by the host employer to eliminate any safety hazards, and the staffing agency should provide a document to the host employer that specifies each temporary worker’s training and competencies.

Ensure the Employer Meets or Exceeds the Other Employer’s Standards
A host employer and staffing agency should exchange and review each other’s injury and illness prevention program, when feasible. This way, an employer knows whether or not the agency they are hiring meets or exceed their own hiring standards. Likewise, staffing agencies can better inform their temporary worker pool of the prospective workplace.

Assign Occupational Safety and Health Responsibilities and Define the Scope of Work in the Contract
Responsibilities between the staffing agency and host employer should be described in their agreement, as one or the other might be better suited to handle a task. Job responsibilities, work equipment and work hazards should all be included in the agreement to protect all parties of involved.

Injury and Illness Tracking
On most occasions, all workplace injuries should be tracked by the host employer. Once an injury has been reported, the staffing agency should then be promptly notified. Procedures should be in place before an agreement is executed for the exchange of information regarding injuries to temporary workers.

Conduct Safety and Health Training and New Project Orientation
Host employers should provide temporary workers with safety training that is identical or equivalent to the training provided to the host employers’ own employees performing the same work. Again, all training provided by either the host employer and staffing agency should be communicated to one another. This way, any required training that has elapsed or not been completed can be provided to the temporary worker.

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