OSHA has made it clear that staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for temporary worker safety. That can pose a particular challenge for employers, since many staffing agencies lack the expertise to provide training or to ensure that recordkeeping requirements are met.
Host employers should make sure that their contracts with staffing agencies clearly specify the safety obligations of each party. OSHA recommends that both the host employer and the staffing agency “should consider the hazards it is in a position to prevent and correct, and in a position to comply with OSHA standards.”
Two recent cases in which both the host employer and the staffing agency were cited occurred in Alabama and Texas.
In Alabama, OSHA found that both permanent and temporary employees at an auto parts manufacturer faced the danger of being caught in machinery or hit by objects and the risk of suffering amputations. The agency cited manufacturer and its staffing firm, which face combined penalties of $106,020.
In Texas, an oil and gas company and a staffing firm face $120,800 in penalties, having been cited for failing to ensure proper disposal of contaminated materials and not ensuring proper labeling of containers with hazardous chemicals.