The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to protect the safety of their employees. In addition to ensuring the safety of their equipment, employers must train employees on the equipment and the different hazards involved in the workplace. These training’s serve a number of purposes, both risk and health related, but are for the overall good of the company and its employees.
Temporary workers are generally in a difficult position when it comes to workplace safety. Temp workers often work in the most hazardous conditions and may not receive the same level of training and experience with equipment as full-time employees. Employers may assume that outside groups like staffing agencies or previous employers will have adequately prepared temp workers for workplace safety hazards, or they may not just be in a position to offer the same comprehensive training.
Either way, OSHA has recognized the unique situations faced by temporary workers, and is making an effort to protect these workers in the workplace. The organization is teaming up with the American Staffing Association, an organization that represents the interests of staffing and recruiting agencies across the country.
Through the joint effort, OSHA and ASA will conduct an outreach program aimed at informing temporary employees and their employers of the rights and obligations involved with protecting the workers’ safety.
The groups will distribute OSHA materials which outline employer obligations under the OSHA Act and provide guidance on how employers can comply with the obligations, as they relate to different workplace hazards.
In general, employers have the same obligations in protecting temporary employees as they do with full-time employees, but they can and should coordinate with staffing agencies to provide workers with safety training. Staffing agencies may offer general safety training, while employers will handle training with the specific hazards and equipment involved with their particular workplace.
OSHA and the ASA will also work together to develop new methods of distributing and communicating information, such as through print and electronic media, electronic assistance tools, and the OSHA and ASA websites.
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