Many workers take on a second job or work one temporarily during the holiday season here in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Despite the temporary nature of holiday work, employers are still held to certain responsibilities for worker safety. According to OSHA, employers and staffing agencies need to outline their respective responsibilities to comply with all applicable OSHA standards in the employment contract. This ensures that the employer complies with all applicable guidelines, and it avoids later confusion about employer obligations.
Employer and agency are both responsible
The circumstances of each employment agreement are unique to the specific facts involved, but both the host employer and the staffing agency are responsible for promoting and maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers working in a warehouse, making deliveries, driving a truck or other jobs. This includes training, hazard communication and proper record keeping. If there is a violation or injury, both could be held accountable for worker safety and health.
Temp workers are often more vulnerable
It is important to remember that temporary workers are sometimes placed in hazardous positions where they are more vulnerable, or are punished with retaliatory tactics because of the temporary nature of their employment. They sometimes do not receive proper safety training for a job or overall training to do their job in a safe and healthy manner. With this in mind, it is best for both host employer and agency to be compliant.
Keys to ensuring compliance
There are a number of steps that the two sides can take, including:
- Clear communications between the agency and employer on safety issues
- The staffing agency should make sure the employees are working in a safe environment
- The staffing agency must verify all safety standards
- The host employer must train temporary workers to the same standards as regular employees
- Ignorance of rules is not an excuse
Workers compensation is available to temporary workers
Temporary workers still have rights to seek workers’ compensation. If workers here in Southeastern Pennsylvania are injured, they may realize that an employer did not provide a safe workplace. An injury may give rise to both a workers’ compensation claim and also a personal injury claim. These can be complicated issues, so workers are advised to consult with an attorney that handles injured workers’ rights in both personal injury cases and workers’ compensation.