While agreements between employers and their partnering staff firms often vary, most often the responsibility for Worker’s Compensation claims falls on the staffing firm for contract or temporary placements. However, if you partner with staffing firms to provide you with contract or temporary workers you share in the responsibility for their safety. Not sure what your responsibilities may be? Here’s what OSHA has to say!
“While the extent of responsibility under the law of staffing agencies and host employers is dependent on the specific facts of each case, staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers – including, for example, ensuring that OSHA’s training, hazard communication, and recordkeeping requirements are fulfilled.” – OSHA.gov
In order for both parties to have clear and concise expectations for protecting the safety of workers, responsibilities should be clearly outlined in a service agreement or contract. Having this language settled on early on helps prevent any confusion as occurrences happen in the future. While both the host employer and the staffing firm share in control over the worker, neither party should rely solely on the other to ensure the health and safety of the employee. Clear communication between the host employer and the staffing firm regarding job specific training, appropriate PPE, skillset required to safely perform the job duties and workplace hazards training.
Here are a few tips from OSHA on the topic:
- The key is communication between the agency and the host to ensure that the necessary protections are provided.
- Staffing agencies have a duty to inquire into the conditions of their workers’ assigned workplaces. They must ensure that they are sending workers to a safe workplace.
- Ignorance of hazards is not an excuse.
- Staffing agencies need not become experts on specific workplace hazards, but they should determine what conditions exist at their client (host) agencies, what hazards may be encountered, and how best to ensure protection for the temporary workers.
- The staffing agency has the duty to inquire and verify that the host has fulfilled its responsibilities for a safe workplace.
- And, just as important: Host employers must treat temporary workers like any other workers in terms of training and safety and health protections.
Because staffing firms often do not visit the workplace daily they should be sure to communicate openly with workers and encourage workers to report any hazards, changes in workplace safety, or other concerns quickly so they may be addressed accordingly.
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