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Keeping temporary workers safe on the job


Keeping temporary workers safe on the job

Temporary workers in South Carolina are entitled to the same safety protections as their full-time counterparts. A case study published by the American Staffing Association and the National Safety Council in conjunction with the Occupational Safety and Heath Administration examined the obligations of staffing firms and host employers to ensure workplace safety for their temporary workers.

Violations identified by OSHA were the basis for the case study. The study examined a fictional situation in which a temporary worker was assigned by a staffing to perform indoor welding services for a host employer’s job site. The worker used a generator and welding equipment, both of which were portable. Welding fumes were produced by the equipment while it was in use.

The case study was created to offer practical data that aids staffing agencies and host employers to provide better protection for temporary workers. It is also intend to help them understand who has the responsibility of using the OSHA Form 300 and illness log to note the injuries sustained by temporary workers. The study offered a few helpful suggestions.

Both parties should first identify who is responsible for the workplace and is best equipped to provide the safety and health protections required for the particular site, and then draft a written agreement detailing those terms. The staffing agency and the host employer should also establish protocols for ensuring that the safety obligations are properly handled. If either party learns of a temporary worker injury, it should immediately inform the other party. OSHA should also be notified regarding certain injuries.

Workplace injuries can occur in any setting or industry. Temporary employees are likely to be covered by the agency’s workers’ compensation insurance rather than that of the host employer, but a temp who is injured on the job might want to meet with an attorney to ensure that the proper steps to seek benefits are being taken.