August 20, 2013
Temporary workers are typically the first to be laid off during recessions and first to be hired when customer demand picks up. Oregon's temporary help industry accounted for 1.8 percent of covered employment in 2011, but about 7 percent of the increase in total covered employment during that year.
As the economy slowly improves, a rising trend among employers is to hire temporary workers, particularly in the construction industry.
Unfortunately, many temporary workers are not aware that they have the same right to a safe workplace as other workers. Many of these workers are untrained in identifying workplace hazards or are afraid to speak up for their rights because of the nature of the work: it's temporary. Training temporary workers to identify and protect themselves from workplace hazards can be challenging for employers; however, that does not change the fact that they are entitled to a safe workplace.
In April, federal OSHA announced an initiative to assess whether employers who use temporary workers are complying with their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act and to determine whether temporary workers received training in a language they could understand.
Because Oregon OSHA compliance officers are also using a new code in their information system to denote when temporary workers are exposed to safety and health violations, this might be a good time to summarize host employers' responsibilities to their temporary workers. (A host employer is a client of a worker leasing company or a temporary service provider who uses leased or temporary employees.)
A host employer's responsibilities include:
For more information about safety and health requirements affecting Oregon's temporary workers, see the Temporary/leasing page (under A-Z Topics) on Oregon OSHA's website.
Reprinting, excerpting, or plagiarizing any part of this publication is fine with us!
But remember: the information in this newsletter is intended to highlight safe work practices, but it does not replace Oregon OSHA workplace safety and health rules.
For information about Oregon OSHA services and answers to technical questions, call (503) 378-3272 or toll-free within Oregon, (800) 922-2689.