Temporary Worker Safety

Early in my career, I was a Risk Manager for a Temporary Staffing Company. This was a challenging industry to be in the safety department. There are several factors to this industry that make it so hard to up hold the CFR regulations and maintain safe work sites.

One issue is the work force. There are several good people that are just down on their luck, but the majority have some sort of under lying issue. I’m not just talking about drugs and alcohol, I’m just saying issues in general. Some people like the idea of getting paid every day. Some just can’t keep a steady job. Some workers are transient and travel from place to place looking for the next job. Some workers just like working a few days here and there. A bad thing is that you did not always see the same people every morning, searching for a job for the day. I have met many good people in that industry and will always challenge the “Rent-A-Drunk” mentality.

Another issue is the client. Yes, the client has their own agenda for these workers. Most companies look at temporary workers to do the bad work, the dirty work, and even the unsafe work that they don’t want to expose their regular employees too. My job as a Risk Manager was to travel to these job sites to ensure that our workers were not exposed to any dangerous work. Most of the clients would let these workers do a job that they were not supposed to do. For example: a general laborer would be on a job to do general clean up. The Forman would often just point to the temporary worker and tell them to do some thing and the next thing you know, they are swinging a hammer or operating power tools.

These are just two of the issues out of dozens of them. The National Safety Council is asking for employers and staffing agencies to collaborate for a safer work place. Here is the article:

National Safety Council calls on employers to ensure safety of temporary and contract workers

Employers and staffing agencies should work together to save lives and prevent injuries

Itasca, IL, Dec. 18, 2014 – The National Safety Council is calling for host employers and staffing agencies to coordinate and share responsibility for assuring the health and safety of temporary and contract workers. State-by state-data show temporary workers can have double the risk of suffering severe injuries at work and often are assigned to higher risk jobs. Increased injuries and deaths among these workers indicates the need for host employers and staffing agencies to clearly define their respective roles so each party fulfills its responsibilities.

“Regardless of who signs their paycheck, the 17 million temporary workers in the U.S. deserve safe job sites,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of NSC. “We encourage staffing agencies and employers to engage proactively so that all workers go home safely.”

The rate of incidents and deaths among temporary and contract workers has paralleled the rise of the industry, which has added more U.S. jobs in the last three years than any other industry. Despite the dangerous nature of some of these jobs, some temporary workers may not receive the same degree of training and protection as regular employees.

Aside from working closely with staffing agencies, NSC also recommends employers:

  • Establish a policy that states clearly that all workers in all types of employment arrangements have equal rights to a safe and healthy workplace.
  • Develop and implement procedures to ensure that all workers, including temporary and contract workers, are provided a safe and healthy workplace, and that there is clarity on supervisory control.
  • Establish mandatory requirements for safety training based on the work environment and risks of job assignments to be delivered by the contract worker employer, staffing agency and/or host employer.
  • Work with contract worker employers and staffing agencies to identify how to gather and analyze appropriate information about temporary and contract workers to better understand any challenges to assuring their safety and health, and what strategies can be effective in further reducing risk.
  • Develop strategies with contract worker employers to assure roles and responsibilities associated with accountability for worker safety are clearly understood and effectively executed.
  • Monitor trends in the use of temporary and contract workers in order to address changing needs for maintaining a safe and healthy workplace for all workers.

All employers are encouraged to join the Journey to Safety Excellence, a roadmap to build a workplace that keeps people safe. The Journey to Safety Excellence includes free, practical tools collected from 100 years of experience. Visit nsc.org/journey to join. ”



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