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This Safe+Sound Week, TempForce is bringing you must-know information about how temporary staffing agencies and staffing clients should work together to protect our temporary workforce. This is Part One in our Safe+Sound Week Blog Series!

Working Safe with a Temporary Agency
Part 3: Injury Recordkeeping Requirements

Let’s review. So far in our Safe+Sound Week Blog Series, we’ve covered how Host Employers and Temporary Agencies can work together to minimize workplace hazards. But when a safety incident is reported, is the Host Employer or Staffing Agency responsible for the Recordkeeping Requirements?

 

Only Record Injuries on One Log

Temporary workers’ injuries and illnesses should be “recorded on only one employer’s injury and illness log.” (Source) In most cases, that will be the Host Employer’s Log.

By OSHA’s standards, the duty of recordkeeping is determined by supervision. So, usually it will be the Host Employer who is responsible for including recordable temporary worker injuries on their OSHA Log, because “they supervise such workers on a day-to-day basis.” (Source)

Host Employer Responsibilities

Essentially, the Host should make sure to include temporary worker injuries and illnesses when doing their usual required recordkeeping for OSHA. Records of “serious occupational injuries and illnesses” (Source) should be maintained using the OSHA 300 Log. The employer responsible for recordkeeping is also responsible for completing and posting parts of the Log at the worksite every year, even if there were no recordable injury in the past year.

Here are some helpful links for Recordkeeping!

 

Working Together with TempForce

One of the most important things TempForce can do to share the recordkeeping responsibilities is to maintain communication with our clients about any work-related injuries or safety issues. We also train all our temporary employees to report injuries promptly to TempForce and their Host Employer. After an injury has been reported, we are also happy to assist our Host Employers with injury investigations.


That sums up our Safe+Sound Week series! We’ve learned how Host Employers and Staffing Agencies share safety and health responsibilities for temporary workers, and that communication is key for us to ensure our workforce’s safety. Read more on OSHA’s Temporary Workforce Initiative here.

 

TempForce is happy to address our clients’ workplace safety questions directly. Please contact your local branch with any inquiries!


This Safe+Sound Week, TempForce is bringing you must-know information about how temporary staffing agencies and staffing clients should work together to protect our temporary workforce. This is Part One in our Safe+Sound Week Blog Series!

Working Safe with a Temporary Agency
Part 2: P.P.E. and Hazard Communications

Today, we’re going to look at OSHA’s recommendations for how Staffing Agencies and their Clients, also called Host Employers, should handle two essential elements of Workplace Safety: Personal Protective Equipment and Hazard Communications.

 

Contracts Define Our Roles!

As we are about to see, for Host Employers and Staffing Agencies, questions regarding employer responsibility for particular safety and health protections are common. OSHA recommends that Staffing Agencies and Host Employers use a Contract to define each of our roles and responsibilities with regards to safety.

 

PPE’s Role In The Workplace!

Personal Protective Equipment is required to minimize workers’ exposure to hazards when all other controls cannot reduce hazard exposure to acceptable levels. But who is responsible for providing PPE… the host employer, or the staffing agency?

 

The Host Employer’s Responsibilities

According to OSHA, since the Host Employer is most familiar with their workplace and generally controls the worker’s activities around and interaction with hazards, the Host will usually have the “primary responsibility for selecting, providing, and ensuring the use of adequate P.P.E. for the work assigned.” (Source)

For example, a Host Employer may control a sander at their worksite that emits sawdust and loud noise, so they would provide safety glasses and ear plugs for all workers who are exposed to these hazards. Remember, in the case of safety and health protections, “Host employers must treat temporary workers like any other workers.” (Source)

Furthermore, Host Employers are usually best-suited to perform the workplace hazard assessment required to determine what type and class of P.P.E. is needed, and may have already done an assessment to make these important P.P.E. decisions for their permanent workforce.


The Staffing Agency’s Responsibilities

The Staffing Agency is responsible for making sure “the host employer conducts the appropriate hazard assessment and provides adequate P.P.E.” (Source)

At TempForce, we know that when it comes to safety, communication is key! The Staffing Agency should maintain communication with Host Employers, to learn about work hazards and P.P.E. required; and should communicate regularly with workers, to make sure they are provided with the right P.P.E.

 

Are Employers Required to Pay for PPE?

The Temporary Worker Initiative reports that in general,“neither the host nor the staffing agency can require workers to provide or pay for their own PPE.” (Source)

But there are some important exceptions!Employers are usually not required to pay for “certain safety-toe shoes and boots, prescription safety eyewear, and logging boots,” and a few other exceptions, because “[this] equipment is very personal [and] is often used outside the workplace.” (Source)

See all the exceptions and more on this rule at this link.


What About Hazard Communications Training?

Another important element of a Workplace Safety Program is making sure workers understand the hazardous properties of the chemicals they may be exposed to.

According to OSHA, Staffing Agencies and Host Employers are “jointly responsible for ensuring that these employees are effectively informed and trained regarding exposure to hazardous chemicals.” (Source)

 

Host Employer Responsibilities

The Host Employer “uses or produces the hazardous chemicals and creates and controls the work process,” (Source) so they tend to hold the primary responsibility for training on site-specific chemical hazards.

This responsibility includes communicating information about relevant hazards, as well as “appropriate labeling of chemical containers, providing [all employees] access to Safety Data Sheets, and providing appropriate personal protective equipment.” (Source)

According to OSHA, Hazard Communication training provided to temporary workers should be identical or equivalent to the training given to Host’s permanent employees!

 

Staffing Agency Responsibilities

The Staffing Agency’s responsibilities usually include basic training, familiarity with the chemical hazards at the Host’s worksite, and making sure that the Host Employer adequately fulfills its Hazard Communication training responsibilities.

We also see it as part of our duty to ensure that our clients are training employees on the most current hazard communication standards. Here are some of the recent changes in HCS that should be part of employees’ site-specific training:

 

How Has Hazard Communication Changed?

In recent years, we have seen important changes to OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard. Employers are now required to communicate any hazardous chemical information to employees using a newly standardized system of labeling that is aligned with the United Nations’ GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals).

This change includes new Hazard Classifications, new Labels, and the new Safety Data Sheet, which replaces the older Material Safety Data Sheet. (Source) Employers must train workers on the new label elements and the new format of the Safety Data Sheet.

 HCS Pictograms

This Chart shows the 9 new HCS Pictograms. See more information about the new labeling standards that employees must be trained on at this link! See information about the new SDSs at this link!

 

In tomorrow’s Blog, we will cover the third and final topic in our Safe+Sound Week Series: how Joint Employers should handle Safety Incident Recordkeeping and Reporting!


This Safe+Sound Week, TempForce is bringing you must-know information about how temporary staffing agencies and staffing clients should work together to protect our temporary workforce. This is Part One in our Safe+Sound Week Blog Series!

Working Safe with a Temporary Agency
Part 1: Safety and Health Training

For smart companies, the question of workplace safety is simple: protecting workers should be a priority. Period.

But Temporary Employment situations can lead to much more complicated questions about which employer is responsible for temporary employees’ safety. Is it the temporary agency which employs them… or the client company at whose facility they work?

 

The Temporary Worker Initiative

In recent years, a rising trend in temporary employment has inspired the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue the Temporary Work Initiative.

This new initiative aims at a clearer understanding of the responsibilities of temporary agencies and their clients. OSHA makes it clear that ultimately, both employers are responsible for the safety and health training of temporary employees. (Source)

 

Defining Our Roles

The Temporary Worker Initiative defines the staffing relationship with precise terms: the Staffing Agency is the company that provides temporary workers and serves as the Employer-of-Record. The staffing agency’s client, who uses temporary workers at their facilities, is called the Host Employer.

Together, the Staffing Agency and Host Employer are considered Joint Employers. Bothcompanies are responsible to some degree for determining the conditions of employment (Source), so host employers and staffing agencies are considered jointly responsible for temporary workers’ safety and health. (Source)

 

Who Is Legally Responsible?

OSHA can hold both the host and staffing agency responsible for safety conditions that violate legal standards, including inadequate training. Each employment situation is unique, so the extent of legal responsibility and liability depends on the facts of each case.

A recent survey of OSHA citations in Temporary Work Initiative cases found that in the majority of cases, “both the host employer and the staffing agency were cited, but the host employer was cited for substantially more violations.” (Source) According to SHRM, we can expect OSHA to continue issuing citations like these under the TWI in 2017.

 

How Are Employers’ Duties Generally Determined?

OSHA gives us this key concept: each employer “should consider the hazards it is in a position to prevent and correct.” (Source) In most cases, Staffing Agencies are in a position to provide general safety and health training, and host employers are responsible for job-specific training designed for their particular worksite.


The Host Employer’s Responsibilities

Since Host Employers are often in the best position to provide it, they are usually responsible for temporary workers’ site-specific safety training. The Host typically has control over the day-to-day operations and daily supervision of temporary workers. Host Employers are also familiar with the hazards of the specific job tasks, machinery, etc., and understand the training necessary to protect workers from those specific hazards.

OSHA makes it clear: “Host employers must treat temporary workers like any other workers in terms of training and safety and health protections.” (Source)

 

The Staffing Agency’s Responsibilities

Since staffing agencies like TempForce recruit for many positions, OSHA states that we are not expected to “become experts on specific workplace hazards.” (Source)

Instead, the Agency is usually responsible for generic safety and health training, providing workers with the basic abilities to identify hazardous work situations, to report hazards, and to report injuries. TempForce makes sure all our workers are trained to use our reporting system for promptly reporting safety incidents to TempForce and to their host employer.

It is also the Staffing Agency’s duty to inquire into the conditions of work assignments, and to ensure that host employers’ site-specific training is adequate. TempForce offers scheduled facility visits and walkthroughs, so our team can become familiar with our customers’ site-specific needs. Another feature we offer is customized orientations, which can include site-specific safety presentations, videos, or other safety training tools provided by our customers.

 

Contracts Can Help to Define Duties

One of the recommended ways to ensure a mutual understanding between Joint Employers is to set out our respective responsibilities in a contract. Defining these roles in a contract will ensure that temporary agencies like TempForce and our staffing clients are fully compliant with all of the new regulatory requirements, and we can join forces in our commitment to workplace safety!

 

In tomorrow’s Safe+Sound Blog, we will cover how Joint Employers should handle Personal Protective Equipment. Don’t miss it!