Temporary workers play an important role in public works operations, but landfills, construction sites, work zones, and other common jobsites are dangerous places for the untrained individual. When using temporary workers, you must take care that they are meeting their training and compliance obligations related to jobsite safety.

OSHA has launched an initiative aimed at protecting temporary workers from jobsite hazards. David Michaels, assistant U.S. secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, states, “Host employers need to treat temporary workers as they treat existing employees. Temporary staffing agencies and host employers share control over the employee, and are therefore jointly responsible for the temporary employee’s safety and health. It is essential that both employers comply with all relevant OSHA requirements.”

While the extent of each party’s responsibility depends on the specific case, staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe environment. For example, this includes ensuring that OSHA’s training, hazard communication, and recordkeeping requirements are all fulfilled.

The key is communication between the host employer and the temporary staffing agency. Set out the responsibilities for safety, training, and regulatory compliance in the contract. This helps define roles, but won’t necessarily protect your agency from being held responsible in the event of injury or death. OSHA could hold both the host and temporary staffing agency responsible for violations.

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