The Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) Administration has made protecting America’s temporary workers a leading initiative. The use of temporary workers has grown in a shifting economy, giving employers the ability to manage workflow through temp agencies. While this trend has given business owners flexibility and created a billion dollar industry for staffing agencies, workers may be losing out on important rights and benefits.
According to OSHA, temp agencies must treat temporary workers as they treat existing employees. That means that agency employers are responsible for ensuring compliance with OSHA standards. Our Greensboro workers’ compensation attorneys are dedicated to helping workers recover compensation after suffering a work-related injury. We are also committed to staying abreast of developing issues at the state and federal level that impact North and South Carolina workers. Our priority is to ensure keep safe working conditions to prevent future injuries and to help victims and their loved ones recover the compensation they deserve.
Temporary staffing agencies have a duty to protect temporary workers. OSHA recommends that the temporary and host employer work through their respective responsibilities to ensure compliance with relevant OSHA standards. Contracts should identify which company is responsible for gear, safety precautions, and other items that will ensure both host employer and temp agency are in compliance with regulatory requirements. The agency recommends these issues are worked out in detail through contractual arrangements.
Under federal law, both host employers and temporary agency are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers. This means that both should be up to date on regulatory requirements; that temporary workers have relevant training, equipment, hazard communications; and that recordkeeping is in compliance with regulations. Though every temporary position has different requirements, both agencies and employers have a duty to ensure OSHA compliance.
In the event of a violation, both the temporary staffing agency and the host employer can be held liable for violations including lack of training, improper equipment, or failed maintenance. Again, both are jointly responsible for the safety and health of temporary workers. It is no surprise that many employers have used temporary worker arrangements to avoid compliance obligations. This creates a host of safety issues, especially when many temporary workers are responsible for performing some of the most dangerous and labor intensive jobs. Since OSHA has seen so many violations with regards to temporary workers, it is now mandating that both host employers and agencies be responsible for compliance.
Sharing responsibilities means that host employers must consider potential hazards and take measures to prevent and correct safety and health issues. While an employer may provide specific on the job training, agencies may be able to provide general safety and health training to ensure that workers are prepared when on the worksite. Ultimately, the agency is urging communication and compliance for both employers and staffing agencies. Temporary workers must remember that they do have rights and can take action in the event of a workplace injury. In addition, both staffing agencies and employers can be fined in the event of failed compliance or a violation.
If you have suffered a work injury, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.
More Blog Entries:
Occupational Hearing Loss and Workers’ Compensation, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, June 10, 2013
New Chemical Safety Provisions From OSHA Pending, March 27, 2014, Spartanburg Injury Lawyer Blog