NIOSH, OSHA and Temporary Workers

Temporary workers often lack consistent workplace safety protections.  This has been discussed at a recent Occupational Health Sciences symposium, as well as at Oregon Construction Advisory Committee meetings.

This week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute of Occupational Health Sciences released recommendations for host employers to better protect this group of workers. Upon the launching of OSHA’s Temporary Worker Initiative last year, OSHA received reports and investigated cases of temporary workers suffering serious or fatal injuries, often within the first few days of a job. OSHA and NIOSH assert in the new guidance, that “all workers always have a right to a safe and healthy workplace, whether temporary or permanent.”

Fall 2013 Symposium panel on the Changing Employment Relationship and Worker Wellbeing (including discussion on temporary workers).

Key provisions of the new recommendations:

  • Evaluate the Host Employer’s Worksite
  • Train Agency Staff to Recognize Safety and Health Hazards (i.e., staffing agencies)
  • Ensure Employer Meets or Exceeds Other Employer’s Standards
  • Assign Occupational Safety and Health Responsibilities and Define the Scope of the Contract
  • Injury and Illness Tracking
  • Conduct Safety and Health Training and New Project Orientation
  • Injury and Illness Prevention Program; Assessments; Investigations
  • Maintain Contact with Workers

We are hopeful that implementation of these guidelines together with other initiatives and measures will better protect this group of workers. Access the recommended practices.

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About the Author

Dede supports the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences and the Oregon Healthy WorkForce Center's research, engagement and education programs. She is a certified industrial hygienist.

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