OSHA Guidance Highlights Employer Responsibilities to Protect Temporary Workers
Two new bulletins recently published by OSHA address temporary workers’ exposure to bloodborne pathogens and operation of powered industrial trucks. The bulletins are part of a series of guidance documents developed under OSHA’s Temporary Worker Initiative, which seeks to elevate hazards facing temporary workers to national concern. The agency’s initiative is intended to help host employers and staffing agencies understand their responsibilities for protecting workers. Another focus of the initiative is on compliance with safety and health requirements when temporary workers are jointly employed by a staffing agency and host employer.
According to OSHA, both the host employer and staffing agency are responsible for ensuring that temporary workers are properly protected from exposures to bloodborne pathogens. Host employers generally have the primary responsibility of developing and implementing a written exposure control plan for the work site, and staffing agencies are responsible for providing generic information and training on bloodborne pathogens. More information, including an example scenario involving an out-patient surgical center, is available in the bloodborne pathogens bulletin.
The second new bulletin describes what staffing agencies and host employers can do to train temporary workers on the operation of powered industrial trucks under OSHA’s general industry standard. OSHA recommends that staffing agencies and host employers jointly review task assignments and job hazards related to the types of powered industrial trucks that workers will be operating. The agency notes that the host employer and staffing agency share responsibility for training temporary workers in operating powered industrial trucks but may decide that a division of the responsibility is appropriate. Learn more from OSHA’s bulletin.
Other resources for protecting temporary workers can be found on OSHA’s Temporary Worker Initiative web page.