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This article is from the Winter 2015 issue of The Quill. To view the full issue, visit The Quill archive.

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Whether temporary or permanent, all workers always have a right to a safe and healthy workplace.

Throughout the year, companies can experience a higher than normal workload. To meet this demand, temporary workers from third party staffing agencies may be contracted. There are many advantages and disadvantages to this common practice. OSHA outlines several procedures they recommend to help you use, train, manage and communicate with the agency and the temporary worker.

Whether temporary or permanent, all workers always have a right to a safe and healthy workplace. The staffing agency and you as the host employer are joint employers of the temporary workers. You both share specific responsibilities to protect your interests, the agency’s interests and the safety and interests of the temporary worker.

The following is an executive summary of the mutual practices OSHA and NIOSH recommend for staffing agencies and host employers. Unless otherwise legally required, these recommendations are to provide guidance and in some cases, represent best practices.

  • Permit the staffing agency to evaluate your worksite.
  • Assign occupational safety and health responsibilities and define the scope of work in the contract.
  • Make sure it’s clear to the agency and the temporary worker what their exact duties will be while working at your facility and make sure it’s clearly written in the contract.
  • Host employers should provide temporary workers with safety training that is identical or equivalent to that provided to your own employees that perform the same or similar work. Inform the agency as to when the training is completed. The safety of your regular employees is also dependent on the safety behavior and work responsibility knowledge of the temporary worker. 
  • The staffing agency and the host employer should both be aware of any temporary worker injuries. 
  • The training of temporary workers is a responsibility that’s shared between the staffing agency and the host employer.
  • The staffing agency will most likely have a written procedure for workers to report any hazards and instances when a worker’s task is modified from what was previously agreed upon.
  • In addition to reporting responsibilities, conduct a thorough investigation of injuries and illnesses, including near misses, in order to determine what the root causes were, what immediate corrective actions are necessary, and what opportunities exist to improve the injury and illness prevention programs.
  • Provide temporary employees with information regarding how to report an injury and obtain treatment for their job assignments. Train temporary employees on emergency procedures, including exit routes.

You can download the complete OSHA recommended practices for temporary workers at or go to the OSHA website at and search for temporary workers in the “Publications” section.

  • Categorized in:
  • Transportation Safety
  • Driver Management
  • Workplace Safety