State-by-state data show temporary workers can have significantly more risk of severe injuries at work. They often are assigned to higher risk jobs in multiple industries and for multiple staffing clients. Host employers and staffing agencies share the responsibility for safety. Each must know their respective roles in hazard identification, safety training and injury reporting and recording.
In 2013, OSHA launched its
Temporary Worker Initiative focused on staffing company and host employer requirements, and last year, the American Staffing Association and the National Safety Council published a fictional case study based on citations issued by OSHA. Recommendations included:
- Staffing company and host employer should determine which party is in the best position to provide site-specific safety protections; a written agreement should address both parties' responsibilities
- If a host employer or staffing company learns a temporary worker has been injured, it should promptly notify the other party; if an injury is fatal or serious enough for hospitalization, the party that provides day-to-day supervision (usually host employer) should promptly notify OSHA
The case study also offers steps for host employer managers to protect the safety of temporary workers, and information on what all workers should know about their rights to a safe workplace.
SSE Program Reduces Temporary Worker Injuries
NSC and the American Staffing Association created the
Safety Standard of Excellence program to help reduce temporary worker injuries, illnesses and fatalities.
The program defines for staffing firms the policies and practices necessary for compliance, but goes beyond that to detail best practices, including coordination and collaboration with the host employers. Applying firms will undergo rigorous assessment by NSC consultants measuring against these best-practice criteria. Firms scoring high enough will earn the right to use a special program mark that communicates their dedication to the safety of the workers they place.
Recommendations for Employers
- Establish a policy that all workers in all types of employment arrangements have equal rights to a safe and healthy workplace
- Develop procedures to ensure all workers, including temporary and contract workers, are provided a safe and healthy workplace, and that there is clarity on supervisory control
- Establish mandatory requirements for safety training based on the work environment and risks of job assignments to be delivered by the contract worker employer, staffing agency and/or host employer
- Work with contract worker employers and staffing agencies to better understand challenges to safety and health, and how to reduce risk
- Monitor trends in temporary and contract work to address changing safety needs
- Join the
Journey to Safety Excellence, which provides free, practical tools and a roadmap to build a safer workplace
It's easy to become complacent in familiar settings, but try taking a fresh look at your surroundings on a regular basis. This
Safety Checklist can help.
Hazard Recognition Quiz
Do your employees know the most common disabling injuries, or who is responsible for identifying hazards?
Have them take this quiz.
Bring Safety Home
Even in familiar surroundings, we need to constantly be looking for the dangers around us. Looking at the world through a safety lens can help you protect yourself and those around you. Watch where you're going, protect children and older adults, and
be alert – all the time.