How do OSHA regulations affect your business?

by Katy Bruegenhemke | Feb 13, 2017

Government forms, the requirements change almost as often as the weather in Kansas City lately! Each January Human Resources and Safety Departments have the daunting task of filing required government forms. I, like you, am not immune to this either! I am currently filing our 2016 OSHA forms 300, 300A and 301 to submit to the U.S. Department of Labor. And, yes, I have had to pry my eyes back open more than a few times!

Every year there are discussions between host employers and their staffing partners regarding the responsibility in the training of and reporting on contract or temporary employees.  The truth is that the staffing agency and the host employer are considered partners in this employment.  The staffing agency has the responsibility to ensure that the employees that are placed on contract or temporary positions are in a safe work environment and that the host employer is complying with the law.  Host employers hold the majority of the responsibility for training and reporting because they have direct supervision of the employees.

A few years ago, OSHA was concerned that staffing agency employees were being placed in dangerous positons within host employers without proper training.  Unfortunately, there were tragic accidents that validated their concerns.  As a response, on April 29, 2013, OSHA launched the Temporary Worker Initiative.  OSHA states that Temporary workers are entitled to the same protections under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 as all other covered employees.

The staffing agency is responsible for general safety training for all their employees.  They have the duty to inquire about the task that the individuals are performing on the job site and ensuring that the employees are given safety and health training in a language that they understand.  The staffing agency is also required to oversee the medical care of their employees.   

The host employer is responsible for site specific work related safety and health training.  They must provide specific job task and process training such as Lockout-Tagout and provide safety data sheets to the temporary employee.  Most importantly the host employer is required to report injury and illness incidents for temporary employees on their OSHA logs.

Simply stated, the Temporary Worker Initiative allows OSHA fine enforcement to both the staffing agency and host employer if they find violations.  Employers are encouraged to obtain signed training documents for all employees (temporary or full time) because, as you are well aware, with all areas of government, if it is not documented it never happened.

These terms must be spelled out in the contract between the staffing agency and the host employer since both parties are responsible for violations or negative work conditions.  Host employers cannot delegate that responsibility back to the staffing agency.

As the Senior Vice President of Allied Staffing, I have seen many changes over the years in the Kansas City Metro area. Staying on top of government regulations and requirements are not always fun or top of mind. However, with the increase in temporary employees over the last 8 years with 1.5 million in 2009 and rising to 2.9 million in 2015, it has become significantly more important as the number of temporary workers in the workforce will continue escalating over the coming years and will become a higher percentage of the workforce.

Keep this information handy as you meet the electronic reporting deadline of July 1, 2017. Also, if you have any questions surrounding this or any other area of staffing firm relationships, I would be happy to talk with you. 

Written By: Gloria Rice, Sr. Vice President