Joint responsibility for training temporary workers

Date Posted: 01/23/2023
Temporary Worker

Temporary staffing agencies and the employers that hire temp workers are jointly responsible for providing a safe work environment, including joint responsibility for providing any required training. OSHA could cite both the hiring employer and the staffing agency for violations.

The hiring employer should provide site-specific and task-specific training, while the staffing agency provides general safety and health awareness training. OSHA recommends that staffing agencies and host employers clarify each employer’s responsibilities in their contract.

Training should cover:

  • Tasks the temps will perform and equipment they will use, as stated in the job descriptions. Also cover any hazardous tasks they must not perform or equipment they must not operate. Temps should not perform new tasks unless the hiring employer first obtains approval from the staffing agency.
  • How to recognize site-specific and task-specific hazards and how to reduce or eliminate them. If applicable, provide training on the location of SDSs and how to obtain them.
  • Required personal protective equipment (PPE) needed. The contract with the staffing agency should clarify which employer will pay for and supply any required PPE.
  • Employer responsibilities and workers’ rights and responsibilities under OSHA.
  • The responsibility to report all work-related injuries, illnesses, and close-calls and to communicate safety and health concerns as soon as possible to both the hiring employer and the staffing agency. Include training on procedures for how to report and what to expect after reporting, and emphasize that workers will not be punished or face retaliation for reporting injuries or concerns.
  • How to obtain first-aid treatment.
  • Site-specific and task-specific emergency procedures, including exit routes.
  • How temps can participate in the hiring employer’s safety and health program, including safety meetings or committees, toolbox talks, and hazard-specific programs.

In addition, hiring employers should do the following:

  • After training but before starting job assignments, ensure that temps understand key concepts. If this review identifies knowledge gaps, repeat the training and reassess their knowledge.
  • Document when training was completed with the names of workers trained and the names of the instructors. Upon request from the staffing agency, provide copies of this documentation.
  • Review the general awareness training provided by the staffing agency to determine if it’s adequate. At a minimum, general training should cover details of the assigned job, a basic overview of employer responsibilities and workers’ rights and responsibilities, and common hazards including any PPE provided by the staffing agency. If the general training is not sufficient, the hiring employer should document this and recommend what additional training the staffing agency should provide.

How Safety Management Suite Can Help

Safety Topic Webcasts

To address hiring challenges, many employers turn to temporary staffing agencies. OSHA notes that temps get injured more often than regular employees, partly because they frequently get new assignments and need time to learn the ropes. To learn more about protecting temps, watch our archived webcast "Temporary Worker Compliance" recorded on January 26, 2023. The presentation will clarify host employer and staffing agency’s responsibilities, and cover key regulations that impact these contract relationship such as training, PPE, and injury recordkeeping. Login or register for a free trial to view the archived webcast today!

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