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The Safety of Temporary Workers

Steve Wagner

The safety and health of temporary workers is something that can be easily overlooked, especially in cases where workers are provided through employment services and the temporary workers are legally contracted through two different employers.

As part of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (the OSH Act – 1970) employers, no matter the type, are required to provide proper safety training for injury prevention to all types of employees. As part of this effort to protect temporary workers, OSHA has joined forces with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to release a list of checkpoints which employers can use to protect temporary employees.

The checklist is intended for use by staffing agencies, as well as employers working with staffing agencies to hire on contracted or temporary workers. The checkpoints include:

  • Evaluating the Host Employer’s Worksite: The host employer is recognized as the employer who has hired a staffing agency for assistance with finding temporary employees. Part of the responsibility for the safety of employees falls back onto staffing agencies. Staffing agencies are expected to protect workers by ensuring the environments which they are sending them into are safe and that proper training will be provided to them upon arrival at their new position.
  • Training and Educating Agency Staff to Recognize Safety and Health Hazards: Workers are far more likely to be protected if the placing agency employees are trained in recognizing hazards and potential dangers in different types of work environments.
  • Ensuring each Employer Meets or Exceeds the other Employer’s Standards: In order to comply with OSH requirements, each employer must ensure that they agency or other employer they are working in conjunction with meets or exceeds safety standards so that temporary workers are not at risk in either environment.

For all of the suggestions and ways to ensure the protection of temporary employees, you can find the full list of standards from OSHA’s Recommended Practice release.

We stress the importance of joint responsibility when it comes to protecting temporary employees. What many employers never consider is that their negligence could also fall back on a staffing agency, and many staffing agencies do not consider the precarious position they place themselves in by not examining and ensuring the safety standards of their clients.

If you have been injured or have lost a loved one due to the negligence of an employer or a staffing agency, contact the work site injury and wrongful death attorneys at Wagner Reese. We are waiting for your call and would be honored to help you through your recovery process. Call us today at (888) 204-8440 to schedule a free consultation.


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