Crisis management. Emergency preparedness. Occupational hazards.
We have all attended the mandatory trainings, but what do any of these phrases really mean? Over the last few years, there was a substantial increase in temporary worker deaths at their places of employment. Occupational safety hazards are all around us and it takes a well-trained employee to ensure that those potential risks don’t turn into hospital visits.
The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is the largest monitoring body in the country. Recently, OSHA and other organizations around the country have become more concerned with questions surrounding best practices for protecting temporary workers. In this country, there are more than 3 million temporary labor workers. These non-traditional workers often carry a greater risk because of their lack of occupational safety knowledge.
These 5 occupational safety tips will help ensure that your company is on the right path to ensuring the safety of temporary workers—and improving overall occupational safety.
1. Remember: temporary employees are still employees
There is a common misconception that it is acceptable to treat temporary employees differently than regular employees. This is absolutely false. Every employee should adhere to the same rules and regulations. Employers have a responsibility to protect all employees.
2. Ensure that all staff members maintain up to date trainings
The most important part of occupational safety is prevention. This cannot be achieved without the proper education. Although you may not be particularly motivated to invest as many of your company’s resources into a temporary worker, it is in your business’s best interest. Understanding proper lifting techniques, back injury prevention, and equipment maintenance can help everyone avoid a nasty accident on the work site. Without the right training, temporary workers are much more prone to severe accidents such as asphyxiation, chemical spills, and machine entanglement,
Temporary employees can prove to be great assets if they are kept abreast of best practices in occupational safety.
3. Be sure you have the right amount and type of insurance
Regardless of how often you hire temporary workers, you should periodically check to be sure that your insurance is adequate in case of an incident at the work site. Do you have General Liability Coverage (GLC)? What about Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)? How do you know what is best for your situation? Before you decide to hire temporary workers, these are a few very vital issues that must be resolved in order to protect your business and your employees. The type of coverage may vary slightly from state to state depending on the type of business you run, but you should be aware that many General Liability Coverage policies are not sufficient when considering temporary workers; it all depends on the terminology that is used.
4. Follow the OIS code for temporary workers
Launched in 2013 by Deputy Assistant Richard Fairfax, the OIS (OSHA Information System) code for temporary workers inspects worksites for exposure to safety violations. Hiring temporary workers does not excuse a company from meeting safety standards. Moreover, this initiative does not present new legislation. It is simply a stronger enforcement of the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act. The new measures in the OIS code also include outreach initiatives and new grievance procedures.
5. Promote a culture of safety across the board
This is an essential step to ensuring that all employees are protected in the workplace. There should be a high standard when it comes to occupational safety. Promoting a culture of safety means that employers post safety hazard literature as needed and (for lack of a better cliché) practice what they preach. During site visits, supervision, or any other time on site, be sure to follow the same rules that you expect your employees to follow. Temporary workers are much more likely to follow the guidelines if there is a reinforced culture of safety in the workplace.
Using these five tips, your company can ensure that it meets (or even exceeds) U.S. occupational safety standards in the workplace. Staying up to date on the proper procedures and strictly adhering to OSHA guidelines is the best way to ensure that your business remains in compliance.
For more information on temporary workers and OSHA, please visit: