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Temporary worker violations can result in OSHA investigation

All workers should be provided ample protection from harm at the workplace. This also includes temporary workers who may be contracted from a staffing agency in California. Accordingly, it is important for employers and staffing agencies to understand their legal obligations in work safety compliance for temporary workers. This may help to prevent a workplace accident or in handling an OSHA investigation after an incident.

OSHA announced in April 2013 that it was planning on taking action to further protect temporary workers. The federal agency has since published three sets of guidelines. These documents further clarified the legal duties of maintaining a safe work environment when a host employer and a staffing agency are joint employers.

One of the latest publications from OSHA regarding the subject covers protective equipment for temporary workers. The bulletins emphasized that both host employers and staffing agencies should assume responsibility for providing a safe work environment. OSHA also stated that neither the host employer nor the staffing agency is free of liability in the case of failure to provide proper protective equipment to workers.

If a workplace accident does occur involving a temporary worker in California, it may result in an OSHA investigation. The agency will attempt to determine if any safety violations occurred, including whether proper protective equipment was provided to the worker. However, if OSHA does decide to issue citations and fines, both the host employer and staffing agency may face the possibility of defending themselves against any allegations of safety violations. A workers' compensation attorney focused on representing employer interests in claims proceedings and with respect to OSHA investigations typically offers an invaluable support system.

Source: natlawreview.com, "OSHA Issues New Temporary Worker Bulletins", Tressi L. Cordaro, March 30, 2015

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