OSHA inspects temporary staffing agencies, workers

In California, many different workers may at some point in their lives apply with a temporary staffing agency. Individuals in post-secondary or vocational training may desire extra income, but find their schedules only allow for short-term work assignments. Performing artists may find temp work allows them to maintain their audition schedules until they land their big break. Parents with young children may also enjoy the flexibility and freedom that a temporary placement can provide.

Of course, temporary placements are not always in an office setting. Manufacturing plants and factories may also rely on temporary workers to cover fluctuations in their workforce needs. Even positions like an electrician, security guard or warehouse worker might be staffed by an agency. Yet workplace accidents seem to disproportionately affect such workers.

Unfortunately, national data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration suggests that adequate training and safety protections may not always be provided to temporary workers, especially in workplaces containing hazardous materials or potentially dangerous equipment. According to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 11.5 percent of the 4,693 fatal on-the-job injuries sustained by workers across the country in 2011 may have involved employees of a staffing agency.

A recent OSHA initiative seeks to remind employers of their obligations to ensure workplace safety for all workers, both permanent and temporary. Onsite inspectors will evaluate not only workplace conditions, but also document the level of supervision provided to temporary workers on a daily basis. Even if an agency, rather than the onsite company, has ultimate responsibility for any workers’ compensation claims, every workplace must still meet applicable safety regulations.

Source: bna.com, “New OSHA Enforcement Initiative Focuses On Temporary Staffing Agency Workers,” May 2, 2013 

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