Because of the confusion that has been reported regarding exactly which safety requirements staffing companies and employers are responsible for and share, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a letter to provide clarification.
According to the Association of Corporate Counsel, OSHA's interpretation letter discusses how the responsibility is split between contract staffing companies and the employers that use their service. Specifically, the letter outlines the safety training, hazard communication and documents that are necessary for each party. The notice was meant to be helpful for any staffing company or employer that uses one of these companies' services.
The letter goes into detail on which party is responsible for ensuring workers adhere to OSHA standards, which is primarily based on how much supervision is provided at the worksite.
"[B]oth the temporary agency and the host employer have the responsibility to ensure that training, hazard communication, and recordkeeping requirements are fulfilled," OSHA wrote in the letter. "Therefore, the issue at hand is the division of responsibility."
However, when it comes to training, it is often up to the staffing company to make sure any new hire has received all necessary safety training. Once the new employee is onsite, the employer is responsible for providing all necessary training a worker may need, with a focus on the specific duties that are asked of the employee.
"[I]n order to fulfill its obligation under such circumstances, the temporary agency must have a reasonable basis for believing that the host employer's training adequately addresses potential hazards employees may be exposed to at the host worksite," the letter read.
The need for better safety training among contract workers was evident in the recent death of a 21-year-old contract employee, who was killed while working at a Bacardi Bottling facility. An OSHA investigation concluded the man did not receive proper training from either party.
To ensure worker safety, and in turn higher uptime and productivity, many employers are turning to companies like Insource Performance Solutions, which operates differently than staffing agencies in that it keeps track of its own OSHA log. This takes some of the burden off the employer, while on-floor managers ensure work is performed properly and safely. Such a company could be the best way to avoid the co-employment risks along with the OSHA burdens.