Oct 01, 2013

Status Report: OSHA’s Protections for Temp Workers

In the June 2013 edition of TrendLine we examined the new initiative by The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that extends protections for temp workers. This month, we look at the latest OSHA inspection data to verify the status of the agency’s s commitment to temporary worker safety.

Since the April 29, 2013 memorandum where inspectors were asked to pay more attention to issues involving temporary workers, it appears that OSHA’s inspectors are truly taking the initiative to heart. OSHA inspection data shows that the number of inspections of temporary staffing agencies has doubled compared to last year.

As of August 12, 2013, OSHA compliance officers had conducted 24 inspections of temporary staffing agencies. Among state-administered workplace safety agencies, there were 52 inspections of temporary staffing agencies this year.

Federal inspections of worksites between April 29th and mid-July identified 262 establishments where temporary workers were “exposed to safety and health violations” according to Thomas Galassi, the head of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement. The most frequent violations were electrical hazards, lockout/tagout protections, fall protections, hazard communication, and powered industrial trucks (forklifts).

In addition, in a July webinar, OSHA has promised to develop educational material including fact sheets, websites and “best practice” guidance. The agency is also working with the American Staffing Association to develop a common understanding about the responsibilities of staffing agencies and the companies that control workers when they are on job sites.

“The discussions with OSHA are leading to clarity to what is sometimes viewed as a murky area” ~Stephen Dwyer, General Counsel for the American Staffing Association