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Temporary Workers: Not Just a 'Guest Employee'

October 2013 By Dale Rothenberger

Recording injuries to temporary workers on your property and under your supervision are to be included in your OSHA 300 log for all employees, including "recordable injuries and illnesses that occur to employees who are not on your payroll if you supervise these employees on a day-to-day basis." You can't provide protective equipment for your employees and charge your temps for it or make them provide their own. You can't deny temps Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) information or copies of air sampling results.

In recent months, OSHA has received a series of reports about temporary workers suffering fatal injuries, many during their first days on a job. OSHA has issued citations when the employer failed to provide adequate protections, including safety training.

Training may be the most commonly violated requirement of all. Every OSHA standard that requires training requires the training before a worker is exposed to the hazard. The problem for temporary workers is the often short notice and transient nature of many of the jobs. Finding a temp who has documented training on hazardous waste operations and emergency response awareness, hazard communication, personal protective equipment, forklift operation and hearing conservation is certainly a logistical challenge.

However, it does not change the requirement for all of this and more to be in place before workers are exposed to workplace hazards. Additionally, OSHA wants to ensure that temporary workers receive required training in a language and vocabulary they can understand. These provisions underscore the duty of employers to protect all workers from hazards.

In addition, OSHA has begun working with the American Staffing Association, and employers that use staffing agencies, to promote best practices ensuring that temporary workers are protected from job hazards.

Key areas of change that affect you include:

  • Revisions to the OSHA regulations, purpose and objectives;
  • Reasonable care and informed compliance;
  • Role of employer, agency, supervisors, workers, compliance auditors;
  • Focused assessment requirements;
  • Training responsibility (contract language and pre-engagement performance can put the burden of general training back on the agency's responsibility);
  • Record-keeping requirement;
  • Standard operating procedures;
  • Penalties;
  • Control of documents/control of records; and
  • Best practices.

This issue is not limited to traditional manufacturing sites. This applies to any place covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The question you now need to be asking yourself is: Do my "non-employees" pass the relationship test? PI

About the Author

Dale Rothenberger has more than 20 years of experience in business transformation and program process management. He is available for consultation and can be reached at d.rothenberger@zeemedrdg.com or by calling (610) 926-1401.


 

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