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Protecting for the Safety and Health of Temporary Workers

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All workers have the right to a safe and healthy work environment, no matter if they are permanent employees or temporary workers, but unfortunately, research has shown that temporary workers are about twice the risk of being injured on the job. This is especially true of workers in the manufacturing and construction industries.

To help combat this statistic, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) established the Temporary Worker Initiative (TWI), which requires that all workers receive the same safety training and equipment, regardless of their employment status.
The staffing agency and the host employer are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers. To ensure both parties have a clear understanding of each employer’s role in protecting employees, OSHA recommends the staffing agency and the host employer have each of these responsibilities spelled out in their contract based on compliance with applicable OSHA standards. For example, staffing agencies might provide general safety and health training while the host employers would provide specific training to that particular workplace’s equipment and hazards.

Both staffing agencies and host employers must:
• Enforce OSHA requirements for training, hazard communication (HAZCOM) and recordkeeping
• Communicate with each other
• Provide training to temporary employees
• Have a safety and health program to reduce injuries and illnesses
• Investigate injuries and illnesses, as well as near-misses

Staffing agencies must:
• Ensure they are sending workers to a safe workplace, including the host employer has fulfilled all requirements for a safe workplace
• Be aware of their worker’s assigned duties so they can provide proper training
• Instruct workers on how to report an injury and how to receive medical treatment for it
• Keep in contact with temporary workers on extended assignments

Host employers must:
• Treat temporary workers like all other employees in terms of training and safety and health protections, including how to use and maintain any applicable personal protective equipment (PPE)
• Train temporary workers on emergency procedures and exit routes

For a more in-depth look at recommended practices, take a look at this brochure published by OSHA and NIOSH. Have any questions, contact us at 317-253-9737. Workplace Safety & Health is here to help you keep your employees safe and healthy!

Mr. Griffith has a received his bachelors degree in Environmental Health from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He is a Certified Industrial Hygienist and president of Workplace Safety & Health Company. He has over 35 years of industrial hygiene, safety, loss control and consulting experience. Chemical monitoring, noise measurement, program development and management, risk assessment and computer management of health and safety data are areas of particular strength. Mr. Griffith is a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) at the local and national level. He is also active in the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).

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