The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), working with the NORA Services Sector Council, has released a toolkit to help agencies and host employers improve protections for temporary workers. Such workers often get inferior training and workplace protections, because of the transient nature of their relationship with the host employer, and are injured at higher rates than permanent employees when working in high hazard sectors.
NIOSH estimates that there are as many as 16 million temporary workers (i.e., those who are paid by a staffing company and assigned to work for a host employer company) in the U.S. during a year. In 2013, OSHA launched its Temporary Worker Initiative in response to increasing reports of temporary workers suffering serious or fatal injuries, some even in their first days on the job. The OSHA Temporary Worker Initiative has issued numerous guidance documents outlining the joint safety and health responsibilities of staffing companies and host employers.
This new resource builds on this work by providing an in-depth set of best practices for host employers to follow and supporting materials to facilitate their implementation. The Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) also has a contractor safety outreach and enforcement initiative underway, and the materials in the OSHA toolkit will have utility at mines and construction aggregate operations as well as at OSHA-regulated worksites.
The new resource provides detailed best practices for host employers of temporary workers that are applicable across industries and occupations, and is organized into three areas:
1) How to evaluate and address workplace safety and health in a written contract;
2) Training for temporary workers and their worksite supervisors; and,
3) Injury and illness reporting, response, and recordkeeping.
The document also includes scenarios of how host employers can implement the best practices, checklists, and even a free set of training slides for staffing companies to use when informing their host employer clients about the best practices. The toolkit was developed in partnership with the American Society of Safety Professionals, the American Staffing Association, and representatives from Washington State’s SHARP program. The compendium of best practices, Protecting Temporary Workers: Best Practices for Host Employers, will help host employers better protect the safety and health of temporary workers.
NIOSH and the NORA Services Sector Council are hosting a release webinar on August 30th at 11am ET to introduce this new resource and answer questions. For more information, on this program contact the NORA Coordinator at NORACoordinator@cdc.gov.