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Study looks at shared responsibility for temp worker safety

October 14, 2016

The American Staffing Association and National Safety Council jointly published a case study addressing the safety obligations of staffing companies and host employers to temporary workers. The case study was published in conjunction with the two organizations’ respective alliances with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The fictional case study is generally based on citations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in connection with temporary workers’ on-the-job injuries. In the case study, a staffing agency assigned a temporary worker to a host employer’s worksite to perform welding work indoors using a portable generator and portable welding equipment. The equipment emitted welding fumes during use.

The study is designed to provide practical information to allow staffing agencies and host employers to better protect temporary workers and understand who is responsible for recording temporary worker injuries on the OSHA Form 300 injury and illness log.

Some of the recommendations provided include:

  • The staffing company and host employer should determine which party controls workplace activities, conditions and hazards and thus is in the best position to provide required site-specific safety and health protections. Once determined, this information should then be included in a written agreement that addresses both parties’ responsibilities.
  • The staffing firm and host employer should adopt procedures to ensure that safety obligations are fulfilled.
  • If a host employer or staffing company learns that a temporary worker has been injured on the job, it should promptly notify the other party. If the injury is fatal or serious enough to warrant hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye, the party that provides day-to-day supervision over the temporary worker (usually the host employer) should promptly notify OSHA.

“The case study illustrates how lack of communication and coordination between a staffing firm and a host employer can adversely impact the wellbeing of a temporary worker,” said Amy Harper, National Safety Council director of workplace strategy and Journey to Safety Excellence. “Each employer must know and reliably carry out their respective roles in hazard identification, safety training, and injury reporting and recording.”

The case study is available online.

Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization.

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