Washington Passes Law to Protect Temp Workers

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law, SHB 1206, last week legislation intended to prevent injuries to temporary workers from staffing firms that. This new law takes effect July 25. The law requires increased communication between staffing agencies and worksite employers that will close safety and training gaps for temporary workers.

Employer obligations. Prior to the start of an assignment, worksite employers must:

  • Document and inform the staffing agency about anticipated job hazards likely encountered by the worker
  • Review the safety and health awareness training provided by the staffing agency to determine if it addresses recognized hazards for the worksite employer’s industry
  • Provide specific training tailored to the particular hazards at their workplaces
  • Document and maintain records of site-specific training and provide confirmation to the staffing agency within three business days of providing the training.

NOTE: If the worker’s job tasks or work location changes and new hazards may be encountered, the worksite employer must inform both the staffing agency and the employee of job hazards not previously covered before the employee undertakes the new tasks and must update personal protective equipment and training for the new job tasks, if necessary.

Staffing Agency obligations. Prior to the start of an assignment of an employee to a worksite employer, a staffing agency must:

  • Inquire about the worksite employer’s safety and health practices and hazards at the actual workplace, assessing the safety conditions, worker’s tasks and the worksite employer’s safety program
  • Provide general awareness safety training to the employee for recognized industry hazards the employee may encounter at the worksite (industry hazard training must be completed, in the preferred language of the employee, and must be provided at no expense to the employee)
  • Maintain the training date and content and provide it to the temporary worker upon request
  • Transmit a general description of the training program to the worksite employer at the start of the contract. The staffing agency must also provide the State Department of Labor & Industry’s hotline number for the employee to call to report safety hazards and concerns as part of the employment materials provided to the employee
  • Inform the employee how/where the employee should report workforce safety concerns .

NOTE: If the staffing firm becomes aware of existing job hazards that are not mitigated by the worksite employer, the firm must make the host employer aware, urge the host employer to correct it, and document these efforts; otherwise, the staffing agency must remove the temporary workers from the worksite.