There has been a growing concern in OSHA that companies are attempting to employ temporary contract workers to skirts the requirements and obligations under the OSHA Act. This can include using temporary employees in hazardous jobs to reduce the exposure of liability to the employer. OSHA has also been concerned that temporary workers are by definition more vulnerable to lack of training on both health and safety, workplace or health hazards, and are at greater risk for retaliation than their traditional employee counterparts.

Concern has grown as research studies have shown that temporary workers have a higher risk of workplace injury and in some industries, temporary workers have more than double the chance of suffering a severe work-related injury than a typical employee.

To protect this more vulnerable class of workers, OSHA requires joint responsibility of both the employer and staffing company to ensure the employees’ rights, health, and safety are protected by the same OSHA compliance laws that apply to other employees. 

Who is responsible for temporary contractors on the job?

While legal responsibility for temporary or contract worker injury under the law can fall to either the staffing agency or the employer, both entities are responsible for supplying what the employee needs to stay safe and productive.  Since both the host employer and the staffing agency are required to provide a safe work environment for their employees, they are responsible for maintaining compliance set by OSHA standards and other laws governing employee rights and safety.  

To ensure that all employees rights are met, and OSHA standards are in force, it is necessary for staffing companies and host companies to have contracts indicating their respective responsibilities when it comes to compliance issues, such as training.

What are the responsibilities of the host company and the staffing injury for contract workers?

Both the staffing company and the employer have specific roles that they play in making sure that the needs of temporary or contract employees are met. Every business should maintain the position that it is their responsibility to prevent injuries and correct behavior or conditions that could cause them. An example of how a staffing agency and employer can share responsibility is by having the staffing company providing more generalized health and safety training and the host company supply more job, and company-specific training for their equipment, requirements, hazards, etc.,  Some of the rules and requirements of staffing and host companies include:

  • Maintaining communication between staffing and host companies to protect the employee in all aspects of their employment
  • Staffing companies must ensure their temporary workers are going to a safe work environment and should inquire and follow up to determine that they are
  • Staffing companies should be knowledgeable of the hazards that come with the job their employee works
  • The staffing company should verify that the employee’s company is meeting requirements to provide a safe workplace
  • Staffing companies should know about the potential hazards, safety requirements, and necessary training of the host companies they contract with
  • It is the host companies responsibility to treat all temporary contract employees in the same manner as they would their regular hourly and salaried employees

What are your rights as a temporary contractor?

You are entitled to the same rights to a safe workplace as any other employee in the host company where you are performing work. This includes the right to adequate training, the right to communication and disclosure of possible worksite hazards, the right to proper record keeping and reporting of all safety-related requirements and incidents and the right to necessary safety equipment to perform your job duties.

What to do if you have been injured while performing temporary contract work?

If you suffered an injury while performing contract work, it is important to seek out legal advice to help determine whether the staffing company, host company or both are responsible for the unsafe conditions that led to your injury. Protect your rights and arm yourself with the best tools necessary to stay protected and fight for the settlement you are entitled to.