In 2013, an enforcement initiative was launched by OSHA focusing on the improvement of safety measures for temporary workers.
OSHA defines “temporary workers” as workers that are supplied to a host employer and paid by a staffing agency. This applies whether the worker’s job is temporary or not. OSHA’s enforcement initiative focuses on identifying temporary workers, evaluating whether they are exposed to any safety hazards, and determining if they have received proper training and protection.
In recent months, OSHA has received a number of reports of temporary workers suffering fatal injuries during their first few days on a job. For example, in December of 2013, an Illinois temporary worker was killed by the forklift he was operating when it fell between the dock and truck. Also in December of 2013, a temporary worker died from a fall after he was caught in a sorter. Lastly OSHA cited Bacardi Bottling Corporation after a 21-year old temporary worker was fatally injured his first day on the job.
Ultimately, OSHA views the protecting of temporary workers as a joint responsibility between host employers and their staffing agency. However, OSHA has shown concern that as a means to avoid meeting all their compliance obligations under the OSH Act and other worker protection laws, some employers are using more and more temporary workers. Temporary workers are often not given adequate safety and health training or explanations of their duties by either the temporary staffing agency or the host employer and are likely more vulnerable to workplace safety and health hazards than workers in traditional employment relationships.
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