OSHA Addresses Lockout/Tagout, Safety of Temporary Workers
A new OSHA bulletin addresses lockout/tagout, which involves preventing the re-energization of a de-energized system, and safety for temporary workers. The bulletin is part of a series of guidance documents developed under OSHA’s Temporary Worker Initiative, which is intended to help host employers and staffing agencies understand their responsibilities for protecting temporary workers. According to the new publication, host employers and staffing agencies are jointly responsible for ensuring that temporary employees are properly protected against the sudden release of stored energy. OSHA states that both the host employer and staffing agency should review task assignments and job hazards to identify, eliminate, and control hazardous energy releases before employees begin work. Both parties are also responsible for determining the coverage of temporary workers by a lockout/tagout program. In some cases, OSHA notes that employers may decide that a division of the compliance responsibility is appropriate.  “The details of the protections and training to be provided can be clearly established in the contract language between the employers,” the agency’s bulletin explains. OSHA stresses that the host employer must provide the same protections to its temporary workers as it provides to permanent workers exposed to the same hazards.  The agency’s publication also outlines measures for controlling different types of energy as required in its lockout/tagout standard. An example scenario involving a fictitious metal equipment manufacturer that contracts with a temporary staffing agency illustrates OSHA’s requirements for protecting temporary workers.  The bulletin on lockout/tagout is available as a PDF on OSHA’s website. More information is available on the agency’s web page.
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