In April, 2013, OSHA launched its Temporary Worker initiative expanding, as a matter of policy, its inspection scope to include examination of the use of temporary workers at establishments under inspection. OSHA takes the position that both host employers and staffing agencies share responsibility for worker safety. OSHA will seek to hold staffing agencies responsible […]

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In April, 2013, OSHA launched its Temporary Worker initiative expanding, as a matter of policy, its inspection scope to include examination of the use of temporary workers at establishments under inspection. OSHA takes the position that both host employers and staffing agencies share responsibility for worker safety. OSHA will seek to hold staffing agencies responsible for conducting necessary and appropriate training and assessment of hazards in the workplace into which the agency is placing temporary workers. This initiative manifested itself in recent citations issued to a temp agency.

On July 1, 2015, OSHA issued two Serious citations and one Repeat citation, for total proposed penalties of $19,800, to On Target Staffing, LLC, resulting from an inspection at host employer Sterling Seating, Inc., a northern New Jersey furniture manufacturer. Sterling received 25 Repeat and 15 Serious citations, with proposed penalties of over $176,000.

On Target Staffing was cited for Serious violations under OSHA‚ Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200, for allegedly: (1) failing to develop a written hazard communication program that would have provided the temp workers with general knowledge associated with the hazardous chemicals to which they would be exposed at Sterling‚ facility; and (2) failing to train the temp workers regarding the health effects and proper protection from the potential hazards existing at the Sterling facility.

The staffing agency also was cited for a Repeat violation for failing to conduct an assessment to identify potential hazards to temporary workers assigned to the Sterling facility. OSHA contends that On Target Staffing was cited for the same violation in 2014, related to a different workplace.

The citations and proposed penalties are not final; On Target Staffing can contest the citations or negotiate a settlement with OSHA which may lead to a change in the citations and/or the penalty amounts.

Nevertheless, more than 2 years into the temporary worker initiative, staffing agencies are on notice that OSHA intends to hold them jointly responsible for making sure that temporary employees are properly educated about, and equipped to deal with, the potential hazards to worker safety that may exist at the facility into which they are placed. In addition, OSHA expects staffing agencies to conduct their own job hazard assessments prior to placing temp workers at a host employer. For more information about these issues, contact Tom Ullrich or Derek Brostek at WAW.

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