Legs of warehouse workers

Employers should provide temporary workers with orientation and safety training that are identical or equivalent to that provided to your own employees who perform the same or similar work.

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. With the lowering of the unemployment rate, fewer truly qualified individuals may be available even for temporary work assignments. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outlines several procedures they recommend to help you use, train, manage and communicate with the staffing 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 the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (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.

  1. Permit the staffing agency to evaluate your worksite to help them not only understand the workplace and job function, but to also help identify any safety exposures.
  2. Assign occupational safety and health responsibilities, and define the scope of work in the contract.
  3. 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.
  4. Host employers should provide temporary workers with orientation and safety training that are identical or equivalent to that provided to your own employees who perform the same or similar work. However, depending on the nature of the work and the ability of the temporary worker, consider providing these individuals with more in-depth orientation and safety training. Inform the agency 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.
  5. The staffing agency and the host employer should both be aware of any temporary worker injuries. Avoid assigning job tasks to temporary workers that you would not have a regular employee perform, especially if there are workplace hazards involved.
  6. The training of temporary workers is a responsibility that’s shared between the staffing agency and the host employer.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Provide temporary employees with information regarding how to report an injury and obtain treatment for their job assignments. Train temporary workers on emergency procedures, including exit routes.

You can download the complete OSHA recommended practices for temporary workers at www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3735.pdf. You can also go to the OSHA website at www.osha.gov and search for temporary workers in the “Publications” section. There you will find several publications for temporary workers.

  • Categorized in:
  • Workplace Safety
  • Injury Prevention
  • Transportation Safety