Staffing agencies assign temporary workers to a host employer. Assignments are usually for a brief and defined period of time, but some may be long-term or even permanent.
Workers’ compensation injury rates for temporary workers are about twice that of permanent workers.
All workers, both temporary and permanent, have a right to a safe and healthy workplace. Staffing agencies and host employers are both responsible for providing and maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers; this includes working together to ensure all workplace safety and health regulations are met.
Temporary workers are more likely to get hurt on the job.
Factors causing higher rates of temporary worker injuries include:
- The newness of the workplace.
- Unfamiliarity with the job or equipment.
- Poor communication between the staffing agency, host employer, and temporary worker.
- Inadequate safety orientation and training for on-the-job hazards and protective measures.
- Unexpected changes in work.
These issues are expected to be addressed by the staffing agency and host employer to fulfill their worker safety responsibilities.
Staffing agencies and host employers can prevent work related injuries.
Identifying potential safety and health hazards is the first step to keeping workers safe. The staffing agency must review the temporary work position’s job tasks, determine where on the site the work will be done, and review the safety program of the host employer.
The staffing agency and host employer will need to work together to ensure temporary employee gets an adequate safety and health orientation and training that covers the worksite hazards they are exposed to.
Establishing good safety-related communication between the agency and host employer includes:
- The staffing agency’s assessment of the host employers safety conditions, worker tasks, and safety programs.
- The host employer’s assessment of the anticipated job hazards of the temporary job.
- Employee training records of both the staffing agency and host employer.
The Protecting Temporary Worker rule, Chapter 296-801 WAC, provides health and safety requirements for staffing agencies and host (worksites) employers. Requirements apply before an employee does work.
To summarize the rule, staffing agencies must:
- Review the safety and health of the worksite and temporary job position.
- Provide general safety training to your employees in their chosen language. Forward this training content to the worksite employer.
- Remove employees from dangerous worksites.
- Tell employees where to report safety and health concerns.
- Tell employees Labor and Industries safety and health hotline, 1-800-423-7233.
Worksite employers (or host employers) in summary must:
- Provide anticipated job hazards to the staffing agency.
- Review the employee training content provided by the staffing agency.
- Train employees on worksite specific hazards, and send confirmation that this training occurred to the staffing agency within 3 business days.
- Document and maintain records of your site specific training
- Send confirmation that the site specific training occurred to the staffing agency with three business days.
- Address hazards identified by the staffing agency.
- Update employee training and personal protective equipment (PPE) if new hazards arise. Relay these changes to the staffing agency.
- Review the Protecting Temporary Workers rule for the specific requirements need to follow.
L&I safety and health consultants can help you understand if this rule applies to you and how to implement it.
- Protecting Temporary Workers, Chapter 296-801 WAC.
These resources provide additional information and best practices guidance for keeping temporary workers safe.
- Evaluation and Contracting – Best Practices Checklist for Host Employers. (National Occupational Research Agenda)
General Web Pages
- Protecting Temporary Workers. (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health)
- Protecting Temporary Workers. (National Occupational Research Agenda)
- Protecting Temporary Workers. (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
- Protection Temporary Workers: Best Practices for Host Employers. (National Occupational Research Agenda)
- Recommended Practices: Protection Temporary Workers. (Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health)