Skillsoft Blog

Are Temporary Workers Receiving the Compliance Training They Deserve?

By Norman Ford

Just a few weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced its new Recordkeeping Bulletin specifically aimed at raising awareness and compliance with requirements that temporary workers receive the same training and protection that existing workers receive.

This comes as welcomed guidance in the oft-confused process of reporting injuries or illnesses in the case of temporary workers, where the question of whose responsibility it is–staffing agency or host company–was not clearly answered.

We often see similar ambiguity when it comes to determining who is responsible for ensuring that temporary workers are properly trained.

Trend of just-in-time workers

It’s a trend we’ve seen since the 2009 recession – companies simply aren’t adding full-time positions like they used to, but are instead growing their numbers of temporary employees.

As of August, 2013, 2% of the national workforce was classified as temporary workers–a number incredibly close to the national record of 2.03% dating back to April of 2000.

A staggering 19% of all new jobs created between June, 2009 and April, 2013 were temporary positions, totaling 913,200.

So it’s no wonder, then, why OSHA has stepped in to clarify what were blurred lines between full-time and temporary workers–especially when it comes to issues as important as injury and illness reporting.

Training, whose responsibility is it?

Here are a few points regarding employing temporary workers that are absolutely worth the time to get acquainted with:

  1. Temporary workers or those supplied by a staffing agency must receive equal training to permanent employees of the host organization on potential hazards that they may encounter on the host’s site.
  2. OSHA delegates responsibility to the host company first if there is a violation or injury. The host company cannot abdicate this to the staffing agency.
  3. Via staffing agreements, many host companies require the staffing agency provide generic training to temporary employees as a condition of eligibility of employment. Examples of generic training: HAZWOPER Training, Respiratory Protection, PPE.
  4. It is up to the host company to supply company-specific training and to maintain training records for all employees, including temporary workers, permanent, and even visitors to the site.
  5. OSHA requires that training is provided in a language that is understandable to the employee.

Train to prevent

Host companies that choose to employ temporary workers are subject to responsibilities parallel to maintaining full-time staff. Training is key to preventing injuries and illness in the workplace, which in turn lessens the burden to report injuries. Proper compliance training such as Environmental, Health, and Safety Training (EH&S) and other programs are proven to increase safety in the workplace. Get in touch with us today to find out how your training program measures up.

For more info on the new Recordkeeping Bulletin, find the full release from OSHA here.

Norman Ford is Vice President, Operations, Global Compliance Solutions at Skillsoft.


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