The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is turning its focus to workplace safety for temporary workers after a rash of fatal workplace accidents indicated that training and oversight was seriously lacking. Temporary workers are at greatest risk of a serious or fatal workplace accident during the first few days on a new job.
Regardless of a worker’s status as a temporary employee, contract employee or permanent employee, an employer has a duty to provide training regarding safety and health hazards in the workplace. Temporary workers cannot be denied personal protective equipment when the demands of the job require that it be worn.
The focus on health and safety training for temporary workers comes on the heels of a crushing death at a Bacardi Bottling plant earlier this year. The 21-year-old temporary employee was killed his first day on the job when he was crushed by a palletizer that was not properly locked out.
The man was employed Remedy Intelligent Staffing, a temp labor staffing company that the Bacardi Bottling Plant regularly turns to meet its staffing needs. OSHA issued citations totaling almost $200,000 in fines for the fatal accident and other violations including trip hazards, possible struck-by violations and fire hazards noted during a post-incident inspection.
OSHA specifically cited the company for failing to train temporary employees on lockout procedures. If properly completed, the first day of the worker who was killed may not have been his last.
The deaths of temporary workers at a South Carolina paper mill and a New York construction site also contributed to OSHA’s renewed focus on workplace safety training for temp employees.
Source: Source: Bloomberg, “New OSHA Enforcement Initiative Focuses On Temporary Staffing Agency Workers,” May 2, 2013