The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), along with other partners have released a new set of best practices to better protect the health and safety of temporary workers. Workers who are employed through staffing agencies for a specified period of time, including fixed-term, seasonal, project- or task-based contracts, are generally referred to as temporary workers, contracted workers, or supplied workers. While temporary workers are entitled to the same protections afforded to all other employees by OSH Act of 1970, this new guidance aims to help those employing temporary workers to better protect this population who often experience workplace injuries and fatalities at higher rates than their permanent colleagues.
The guidelines were built upon the foundation provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Temporary Worker Initiative which was launched in 2013.
In a press release on July 18, 2022, NIOSH director John Howard. M.D. said, ““Amidst a pandemic, the importance of keeping workers safe and healthy has never been more important. By following these best practices, host employers can do their part to optimize the safety and health of their workers, both permanent and temporary.”
The guidance is divided into three sections:
- How to evaluate and address workplace safety and health in a written contract;
- Training for temporary workers and their worksite supervisors; and
- Injury and illness reporting, response, and recordkeeping.
Additional resources provided for host employers and staffing agencies include checklists that cover all three sections, as well as a complementary slide deck for staffing agencies to help educate their host employers about these best practices for employing temporary workers.
The guidance was developed by NIOSH, the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Services Sector Council, the American Society of Safety Professionals, the American Staffing Association, and the Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention program out of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries worked together to produce the document. Host employers, staffing companies, and worker organizations also provided diverse input. To find out more information, please visit NIOSHs Protecting temporary workers: best practices for host employers page.