The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) recently published its Temporary Worker Initiative Bulletin No. 1: Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Requirements under its Temporary Worker Initiative (TWI), which focuses on compliance with safety and health requirements when temporary workers are employed under the joint (or dual) employment of a staffing agency and a host employer.

When a staffing agency supplies temporary workers to a business, the staffing agency and the host employer are both responsible to some degree for determining the conditions of employment and for complying with the law.  In this joint employment structure, questions regarding which employer is responsible for particular safety and health protections are common.  OSHA’s TWI Bulletin No. 1 addresses how to identify who is responsible for recording work-related injuries and illnesses of temporary workers.

The basic rule of thumb for these workers is that injury and illness recordkeeping responsibility is determined by supervision. Employers must record the injuries and illnesses of temporary workers if they supervise them on a day-to-day basis, control worksite conditions which could present potential hazards and direct activities and possible exposure related to those hazards.  In most cases, the host employer provides this supervision, and is typically responsible for recording the injuries and illnesses of temporary workers.

The non-supervising employer (generally the staffing agency) still shares responsibility for its workers’ safety and health, and should maintain frequent communication with its workers and the host employer to ensure that any injuries and illnesses are properly reported and recorded.  Ongoing communication alerts the staffing agency to workplace hazards and to any protective measures that need to be provided to its workers.

As a best practice, the staffing agency and host employer should establish procedures for employees to report work-related injuries and illnesses and notification procedures to ensure that when a worker informs one employer of an injury or illness, the other employer is apprised as well.  In order to provide the safest working conditions possible for temporary workers, it is essential that information related to injuries and illnesses flows directly between the host employer and staffing agency.

For more information see OSHA’s Temporary Worker Initiative Bulletin No. 1: Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Requirements.

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