OSHA poised to call for better tracking of temporary workers

According to a new OSHA memo released only a day after this past Sunday’s annual Workers’ Memorial Day, the agency is launching an initiative to better track the exposure of temporary workers to health and safety hazards. Recognizing a recent pattern of high-profile fatal accidents and the sheer volume of temporary employees in the U.S. workforce, OSHA hopes this new requirement will enable it to better protect foreign workers.

The move follows the recent death of a temporary worker on his first day of the job.  Many temporary workers don’t have a strong proficiency with the English language and receive poor health and safety training.

“Employers have a duty to provide necessary safety and health training to all workers regarding workplace hazards,” the memo noted. “Recent inspections have indicated problems where temporary workers have not been trained and were not protected from serious workplace hazards due to lack of personal protective equipment when working with hazardous chemicals and lack of lockout/tagout protections, among others.”

According to the new memo,  OSHA will require employers to tracking certain information during inspections and investigate worksites where temporary workers are employed. To capture this information, the agency created a new code for temporary workers, and if a Compliance Safety and Health Officer (CSHO) notices that temporary employees are exposed to dangerous or ‘violiative’ conditions, they have to enter a new code in the tracking system.

Check out the memo here.

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