The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health

Administration, in a joint partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety

and Health, released revised Recommended Practices for both host employers and

staffing agencies in relation to safety procedures. These new practices are designed to

ensure continued safety for temporary employees, and would have the staffing agency

and host company work more closely in determining specific job functions and in

following up with the employee. Temporary workers, according to OSHA, are at an

increased risk for workplace injury.

The announcement was made by the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational

Safety and Health, Dr. David Michaels, who said, “An employer’s commitment to the

safety of temporary workers should not mirror these workers’ temporary status,” said Dr.

Michaels. “Whether temporary or permanent, all workers always have a right to a safe

and healthy workplace. Staffing agencies and the host employers are joint employers

of temporary workers and both are responsible for providing and maintaining safe

working conditions. Our new Recommended Practices publication highlights this joint


NIOSH has also found that temporary employees are more prone to injury, largely

because they are not always made aware of all safety practices at the host company. And

if the staffing agency is not fully involved with the temporary employee, there may not be

a proper dissemination of safety procedures.

“Workers sent by a staffing agency to a worksite deserve the same level of protection

from workplace hazards as the host employer’s workers do,” said NIOSH Director Dr.

John Howard. “Recognizing that temporary workers are often new to the workplace

to which they are sent, we believe these recommended practices will provide a strong

foundation for host employers and staffing agencies to work together to provide a

comprehensive program that protects the safety and health of all workers.”

If you are a staffing agency or hire temporary employees, it is important to immediately

understand what these guidelines recommend. Because, while not mandatory, they will

be an expectation should a workplace injury ever occur. So if you have not already

reviewed them and updated your policies accordingly, it might be a great time to

contact a third party occupational safety and health organization which can explain the

implications of the new recommendations and how they might impact you.

If you have any questions about these new recommended practices, or about occupational

safety and health in general, please contact us. If you have anything to add about the new

practices for temporary workers, please leave a comment.