Temporary workers are entitled to workplace safety


Workers employed through staffing agencies supplied to a host employer and paid by the agency have the right to a safe workplace regardless of the job's permanence. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Safety and Health have noted the numerous deaths that may have been prevented among these temporary workers and recommend best practices for staffing agencies and host employers which will protect Connecticut workers.

The staffing agency should evaluate the host-employer's workplace, the task assignments and possible job hazards to eliminate any potential threats. The staffing agency should provide a host employer with a document indicating each worker's training and competency to perform the assigned tasks.

The work contract should define the agency and employer's responsibilities and the scope of their specific duties. The workers' tasks should be contained in the contract and communicated to the worker.

The host employer and staffing agency should review each other's injury and illness and prevention programs. Host employers should also review the training and certification records of temporary workers assigned to particular jobs.

The staffing agency and host employer should track worker injuries and illnesses. Prompt notification should occur between these parties if there is worker illness or injury. The supervising employer is required to maintain temporary worker injury and illness records and to create a method for workers to report these illnesses and injuries under federal regulations.

OSHA standards also require site- and task-specific safety and health training. Host employers should also provide safety training to temporary workers which is comparable to the training to the employer's own employees. Staffing agencies should train staff members to recognize safety and health hazards to help ensure that the agency can better recognize and eliminate potential hazards.

Staffing agencies and host employers should also have an injury and illness prevention program to reduce injuries and illness. Hazard-specific programs are required for certain hazards such as blood-borne pathogens, hearing conservation, hazard communication, respiratory protection and control of hazardous energy. Programs are also required for construction for workers.

Workers compensation protects temporary workers who are injured or afflicted by an occupational illness. While these best practices help lower the risk of workplace injury accident, no program can provide absolute protection. Workers injured on the job, accordingly, should seek prompt advice to assure that their rights are protected.

Source: OSHA-NIOSH, "Protecting Temporary Workers," Retrieved Sept. 30, 2014

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