Who is Responsible for Protecting Temporary Workers?
OSHA and NIOSH are aware of numerous preventable deaths and injuries involving temporary workers. For example, a 27-year-old male employed through a staffing agency to work as an equipment cleaner at a food manufacturing plant died while cleaning a piece of machinery. He came into contact with rotating parts and was pulled into the machine. The manufacturing plant’s procedures for cleaning the equipment was deemed unsafe, including the steps in which cleaners worked near the machine while it was energized and moving. While the company’s permanent staff was trained on all procedures to ensure worker safety, this training was not provided to cleaners employed through the staffing agency.
Whether temporary or permanent, all workers have the right to a safe and healthy work environment. Since the staffing agency and the client (the host employer) are joint employers of temporary workers and, therefore, both are responsible for providing and maintaining a safe workplace for those workers.
The extent of the obligations of each employer will vary depending on workplace conditions and should be described in the agreement or contract between the employers before employment commences.
For recommendations to staffing agencies and host employers from OSHA and NIOSH to better protect temporary workers through mutual collaboration, visit OSHA.gov
If you are a temporary or permanent worker and have been injured on the job, contact us for a free consultation today.