OSHA Safety Tips: How to Manage Temporary and Other Non-Routine Employees

There are many advantages to using a staffing agency when it comes to the productivity of your workforce. But, many times temporary and other non-traditional employees receive subpar supervision and safety training. The head of OSHA, David Michaels, recently spoke out by saying, “host employees need to treat temporary workers as they treat existing employees. Temporary employers share control over the employee and are therefore jointly responsible for temp employees’ safety.”

Here a few tips on how to properly train and manage temporary and other non-routine employees:

  1. The employer supervising the temp employee should record an injury on the OSHA 30 even if the staffing agency handles the workers compensation claims
  2. Temp employees should receive exactly the same training and PPE, as well as participate in safety meetings as full time employees. The safety hazards are the same for temp and full-time employees performing the same duties, so there should be no discrimination when it comes to their safety training and being held to the same safety standards.
  3. Many temps work for months or even years at a time with the same employer and therefore should be included in any respiratory protection or hearing conservation programs (such as for certain work areas around conveyors).
  4. Make sure that you get a clear grasp of temps and non-routine employee’s roles so you can ensure that you are using them effectively.
  5. If you are using a staffing agency on site, you are still responsible for some degree of what OSHA calls controlling employer responsibility, which enforces you to monitor or take some steps to make sure that your onsite provider is in compliance with OSHA standards. Often, the staffing agency will have supervision on site and you do not want to interfere with their methods, but you should take steps to ensure that the provider has effective safety procedures in place during your prequalification of the provider. Require that the provider document site-specific Job Safety Analysis that they have prepared for each job requiring PPE. Ask for documentation of training. Do not take on responsibility to review their training materials and programs, but do make them document their efforts.

Remember, even if you are utilizing a staffing agency, if their employers are hurt on your site, or if they are cited for OSHA violations, the odds are that in some degree or another you could also be held responsible.