Temporary Workers: Responsibilities of Employers and Agencies [Photo Gallery]

On Workers’ Memorial Day, OSHA launched an initiative to protect temporary workers. The agency sent a memorandum to regional administrators directing field inspectors to assess whether employers who use temporary workers are complying with their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

In recent months, OSHA has received a series of reports about temporary workers suffering fatal injuries – many during their first days on a job. OSHA has issued citations when the employer failed to provide adequate protections, including safety training.

This photo gallery lists the roles and responsibilities of host employers and staffing agencies, and offers examples of recent OSHA citations related to hazards faced by temporary workers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries about workers killed on the job in 2011. Fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for 542 – or 12 percent – of the 4,693 fatal work injuries reported. Hispanic/Latino contractors accounted for 28 percent of fatal work injuries among contractors, well above their 16 percent share of the overall fatal work injury total for the year.

"…[T]emporary workers … often perform the most dangerous jobs, have limited English proficiency and are not receiving the training and protective measures required. Workers must be safe, whether they've been on the job for one day or for 25 years,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

OSHA inspectors are using a newly created code in their information system to denote when temporary workers are exposed to safety and health violations. Additionally, they are assessing whether temporary workers received required training in a language and vocabulary they could understand. The memo underscores the duty of employers to protect all workers from hazards.

This photo gallery lists the roles and responsibilities of host employers and staffing agencies, and offers examples of recent OSHA citations related to hazards faced by temporary workers.

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