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  • This is Only Temporary: Temporary Worker Safety

    How many times have you heard this line? I know I’ve used it myself at home when explaining my way out of something I just did or committed to. In Industry however, the use and definition of temporary connotes something completely different as it refers to workers and their hiring status. The temporary worker or “temp” as they are referred to, fill a need in the workplace for those companies not yet ready to commit to a long term employee status, especially if business is cyclical or if growth is actually sustainable. This also gives them the opportunity to see if the new temp hire will be a fit in their employee profile. Over the last several years temp agencies have grown in number by leaps and bounds, creating a whole new segment of workers in our society. These workers are not always treated with the respect they deserve, especially regarding their safety. Employers are responsible for ensuring the training and safety of the new temp hire.

    Below please read the latest news release form OSHA, NIOSH regarding temporary workers

    Aug. 25, 2014temporary worker safety

    Contact: Office of Communications Phone: 202-693-1999

    OSHA, NIOSH announce recommended practices to protect temporary workers' safety and health

    WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health released Recommended Practices for staffing agencies and host employers to better protect temporary workers from hazards on the job.

    Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels made the announcement today at the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association annual conference in National Harbor, Md. The new Recommended Practices publication highlights the joint responsibility of the staffing agency and host employer to ensure temporary workers are provided a safe work environment.

    "An employer's commitment to the safety of temporary workers should not mirror these workers' temporary status," said Dr. Michaels. "Whether temporary or permanent, all workers always have a right to a safe and healthy workplace. Staffing agencies and the host employers are joint employers of temporary workers and both are responsible for providing and maintaining safe working conditions. Our new Recommended Practices publication highlights this joint responsibility."

    Temporary workers are at increased risk of work-related injury and illness. OSHA's Temporary Worker Initiative, launched last year, includes outreach, training and enforcement to assure that temporary workers are protected in their workplaces. In recent months, OSHA has received and investigated many reports of temporary workers suffering serious or fatal injuries, some in their first days on the job. The Recommended Practices publication focuses on ensuring that temporary workers receive the same training and protection that existing workers receive.

    "Workers sent by a staffing agency to a worksite deserve the same level of protection from workplace hazards as the host employer's workers do," said NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard. "Recognizing that temporary workers are often new to the workplace to which they are sent, we believe these recommended practices will provide a strong foundation for host employers and staffing agencies to work together to provide a comprehensive program that protects the safety and health of all workers."

    The new guidance recommends that staff agency/host employer contracts clearly define the temporary worker's tasks and the safety and health responsibilities of each employer. Staffing agencies should maintain contact with temporary workers to verify that the host has fulfilled its responsibilities for a safe workplace.

    Make sure to check out the recommended practices publication for temporary workers and these additional resources on temporary workers.

    Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

    As an employer this includes temp agencies. Make sure you provide the safety orientation relevant to your industry. The news release you’ve just read is good news for all of us as it will continue to pay dividends not only in dollar savings but also in the prevention of needless injury, and the continued growth of a safety culture. So from this blogger “Make it a Safe Day!

    Interested in a complete learning management system for the safety of your employees? Sign up for a walkthrough of our LMS and we’ll show you how your employees can get the best learner experience at a price you can afford!

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