Best Practices to Ensure Temporary Worker Safety

Analysis of workers’ compensation data indicates that the risk of experiencing work-related injuries may be higher for contingent workers than for non-contingents. 

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “host employers are responsible for protecting the safety and health of all workers, whether temporary or permanent.”  

It may surprise you to learn that:  

  • The rate of injury in this group of workers was11.6 per 100 workers, compared to a rate of 4.9 among permanent (FTE) employees. 
  • In terms of age, injured temporary workers were about 5 years younger than permanent workers.  
  • In addition, temporary workers had worked for the organization for a shorter time before the injury occurred. 

Many factors may contribute to an elevated risk of work-related injuries among contingent workers, including:  

  • Newness to the workplace and unfamiliarity with the job/tasks. 
  • Insufficient or lack of communication between the host employer, staffing agency or Employer of Record, and the contingent worker. 
  • Failure to provision workers with needed safety equipment. 
  • Insufficient or lack of training. 
  • Unexpected changes to contingent worker job duties that are not reported to the Employer of Record. 
  • Ineffective oversight of the worker/work environment. 
  • Issues related to subcontracted, dual employment arrangements. 

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, along with a coalition of safety organizations and the American Staffing Association, released a new set of best practices to better protect temporary workers on the job. 

They include:  

  • Evaluation and contracting. 
  • Training for temporary workers and their worksite supervisors. 
  • Injury and illness reporting, response and recordkeeping.  

nextSource Insights 

  • When issuing a requisition for a position, specify needed skills for equipment usage, special equipment, etc. 
  • As part of candidate screening, verify ability and interest in performing the job tasks. 
  • Follow OSHA guidelines for site evaluation, worker orientation and training, and supervisor training. 
  • The host employer and Employer of Record share responsibility for keeping medical records related to accidents, investigating accidents and taking corrective actions, and reporting accidents to OSHA. Ensure the establishment of formal, combined incident tracking and reporting processes. 
  • Clearly communicate safety policies, including pandemic prevention policies, prior to offer of employment and again during orientation. 
  • Monitor candidate performance daily to ensure comfort and competency with work assignments. 
  • Conduct formal investigations into all incidents; develop and implement corrective action plans.