Committing Safety for All [Permanent & Temporary]

Posted by
Lance Roux
on Jan 16, 2019


Why is a permanent worker’s life worth more than a temporary worker’s life?  I recently read an article in Business Insurance – “OSHA Stays the Course on Temporary Worker Safety Initiatives” – and it said, among other things, ‘OSHA does not see the difference between a person on site for one day involved in a hazardous task or whether a week justifies the [safety] training or whether a month-long assignment justifies the [safety] training.’  When it comes to ensuring temporary worker safety, OSHA recommends a partnership between host employers and staffing agencies, but oftentimes plenty of finger pointing ensues when both sides are struck with an injured worker or worse.

Fatal News No. 1

In May of 2018, in Huntsville, Alabama, OSHA cited both a host employer and staffing agency and proposed penalties for $139,684 and $12,934 respectively after a temporary employee installing sewer lines suffered a fatal injury in a trench collapse.  OSHA cited the staffing agency for one serious violation: for not ensuring that employers were trained on trenching and excavation hazards.

Training Facts:

1. Training could last approximately 45-60 minutes.

2. Training should include information on: trenching and excavation standards, safety measures and protective systems.

3. Training requirements not found in OSHA standards.


Fatal News No. 2

In November of 2018, in Grand Island, Nebraska, OSHA cited a staffing agency and proposed penalties for $11,641 for failing to protect employees working in excessive heat after a farm worker succumbed to apparent heat-related symptoms while working in a cornfield.  OSHA inspectors determined that the company failed to implement and train employees on a heat injury and illness prevention program.

Training Facts:

1. Training could last approximately 30-45 minutes.

2. Training should include information on: heat stress - factors, indicators, response and prevention.

3. Training requirements not found in OSHA standards.


Joint Responsibility

“Temporary staffing agencies and host employers share control over the worker, and are therefore jointly responsible for temporary workers’ safety and health.”  As previously mentioned in the ‘Fatal News’ stories, a lack of safety training is a common offense committed by both staffing agencies.  “Staffing agencies should provide general safety and health training relevant to different occupational settings, and host employers should provide specific training customized to the particular hazards at their workplaces.  Furthermore, host employers should provide temporary workers with safety training that is identical or equivalent to that provided to the host employers’ own employees performing the same or similar work.”


Your Legacy

"Your employees are your company's real competitive advantage.  They're the ones making the magic happen - so long as their needs are being met." - Richard Branson

All employees, both permanent and temporary, need to receive safety and health training.  Furthermore, all employees need to feel safe in the respective workplace.  All employees need not to worry about returning home in the same condition as when he or she started their shift.  All employees need to be reassured that their employer is committed to the safety for all permanent and temporary employees.  Every incident is preventable.  Incidents similar to the ones that occurred in Huntsville and Grand Island happen all the time.  “Training requirements not found in OSHA standards” is certainly not a “get out of jail, free” card.  Training requirements not found in OSHA standards can best be categorized as “Best Practices.”  Remember: all safety and health training courses are readily available, reasonably priced, and will not take an entire day to complete.

A permanent worker’s life is not worth more than a temporary worker’s life.  Loosening your safety standards, regardless of how temporary a worker may be, is dangerous and you are putting lives at risk. This sort of poor decision making will permanently destroy your reputation and you will lose any chance at a great legacy.


A New Commitment

“When it comes to creating a safe work environment and maintaining compliance with OSHA regulations, SafetyPro Resources offer a wide scope of safety training courses.  Our training sessions are designed to engage your staff to maximize their absorption of the information covered.  Classes are available on or off-site and can be scheduled around your employees’ availability.”

"A well-trained workforce is a safe one." - Lance Roux, CSP

If you own or operate a temporary staffing agency or if your organization utilizes temporary staff, then start committing safety for all.

"Safety is not an intellectual exercise to keep us in work.  It is a matter of life and death.  It is the sum of our contributions to safety management that determines whether the people we work with live or die." - Sir Brian Appleton


Useful Resources

OSHA & NIOSH: Recommended Practices: Protecting Temporary Workers

Temporary Workers’ Rights Pamphlet


Avoid Accident-Related Pitfalls: Get Our Comprehensive 10-Point Safety Checklist


Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Tags: Safety Management, Safety training

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