Wednesday, July 30, 2014

OSHA Issues Memo on Temp Workers

OSHA recently reminded its compliance staff of the agency’s long-standing enforcement policy regarding temporary workers. The agency has had a laser-focus on temporary worker safety in the past year.

“In general, OSHA will consider the staffing agency and host employer to be ‘joint employers’ of the worker in this situation,” the memo states. “Joint employment is a legal concept recognizing that, in some situations, the key attributes of the traditional employer-employee relationship are shared by two or more employers in such a manner that they each bear responsibility for compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

“As joint employers, both the host employer and the staffing agency have responsibilities for protecting the safety and health of the temporary worker under the OSH Act. In assessing compliance in any inspection where temporary workers are encountered, compliance officers must consider whether each employer has met its responsibility.”

The memo also provides details on general and site-specific training, hazard and risk assessment, communication about injuries and illnesses, whistleblowing and inspection initiation.

To assist compliance officers, the agency has published a recordkeeping bulletin, and plans to publish additional resources on topics such as whistleblower protection rights, PPE, HazCom, hearing conservation, heat exposure and forklifts.