Temporary Workers: October 2019 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question: What are the employer responsibilities to protect temporary workers?

Answer: There is a joint responsibility of the host employers and the staffing agency.

While the extent of responsibility under the law of staffing agencies and host employers is dependent on the specific facts of each case, staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers – including, for example, ensuring that OSHA’s training, hazard communication, and recordkeeping requirements are fulfilled.

OSHA could hold both the host and temporary employers responsible for the volatile condition(s) – and that can include lack of adequate training regarding workplace hazards. Temporary staffing agencies and host employers share control over the worker, and are therefore jointly responsible for temporary workers’ safety and health.

OSHA has concerns that some employers may use temporary workers to avoid meeting all their compliance obligations under the OSH Act. Therefore, it is essential that both employers comply with all relevant OSHA requirements.

A key concept is that each employer should consider the hazards it is in a position to prevent and correct, and in a position to comply with OSHA standards. For example: staffing agencies might provide general safety and health training, and host employers provide specific training tailored to the particular workplace equipment/hazards.

  • The key is communication
  • Staffing agencies must ensure that they are sending workers to a safe workplace. They also must verify that the host has fulfilled its responsibilities for a safe workplace.
  • Ignorance of hazards is not an excuse.
  • And, just as important: Host employers must treat temporary workers like any other workers in terms of training and safety and health protections.

OSHA has updated their page on responsibilities and temp workers



*Brought to you by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.