OSHA and the American Staffing Association signed an alliance agreement to improve working conditions for temporary workers.
ASA will work with the agency to provide its members and others with information, guidance, and training resources to protect the health and safety of temporary workers, and to understand the workers’ rights and employer responsibilities.
Last year OSHA announced a nationwide Temporary Worker Initiative (AA, 5-15-13, P. 1), which OSHA Chief David Michaels later said will be continued indefinitely (AA, 12-125-13, P. 6).
On July 15 an OSHA official distributed a staff memo stating that for purposes of the TWI, “OSHA will consider the staffing agency and host employer to be ‘joint employers’ of the worker.”
Their duties sometimes overlap, OSHA told its employees. The staffing agency or the host may be better suited to ensure compliance with a particular requirement, and may assume that primary responsibility, it said. For example, staffing agencies might provide general safety and health training applicable in different settings, while host employers provide training tailored to hazards at their workplaces, OSHA pointed out.
The OSHA-American Staffing Association agreement calls for developing information on preventing workplace hazards, and communicating that to staffing firms, their clients and temporary workers. This includes using print and electronic media, and the OSHA and ASA websites.
Under the agreement, OSHA experts will speak, exhibit and appear at ASA conferences, local meetings and other events.
OSHA and ASA also said they expect to develop a work plan focused on protecting the health and safety of temporary workers – particularly by reducing and preventing exposure to safety and health hazards during temporary assignments.