For a variety of reasons, both economic and non-economic, employers have relied more and more heavily on independent contractors and temporary workers. Temporary workers being employees of temporary agencies, staffing companies and staff leasing services (“temporary employers”), as opposed to employees hired on a temporary or seasonal basis. This trend does not appear to be slowing and, in fact, by most measures is increasing. According to the American Staffing Association, this is a $17 billion a year industry.
Whether a byproduct of the increased use of temporary workers or the result of some other phenomenon, in the past several years there have been a number of highly-publicized workplace fatalities involving temporary workers killed on their first day or week of work with the “host” employer. In response to the first day of employment death of a 21 year old temporary worker at a Bacardi facility, the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on April 29, 2013, issued an enforcement memorandum to Regional Administrators. That enforcement memorandum requires OSHA compliance officers to document whether any of the employees on a particular jobsite are temporary workers. If the compliance officer finds temporary workers, they are to determine whether those workers are or were exposed to any condition violative of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Download the first document of a bi-monthly series of guidance documents related to temporary workers here www.osha.gov/temp_workers/OSHA_TWI_Bulletin.pdf