OSHA recently launched an initiative that focuses on protecting temporary employees from recognized workplace hazards.  Under this initiative, OSHA is directing all OSHA compliance officers to assess whether employers who use temporary workers are complying with their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.  For purposes of this initiative, temporary workers are defined as all employees supplied to a host employer and paid by a staffing agency. 

As part of their inspections, OSHA compliance officers will determine whether any employees are temporary workers and whether any of the identified temporary employees are exposed to a violative condition.  They also will assess, by records review and interviews, whether temporary workers received appropriate training in a language and vocabulary they can understand.  OSHA compliance officers will pay particular attention to whether temporary workers are trained in how to protect themselves from serious hazards, such as wearing appropriate protective equipment when working with hazardous chemicals and the lockout/tagout procedures and protections. 

OSHA compliance officers also will be required to document the name of the temporary workers’ staffing agency, the agency’s location, the supervisory structure of both the host employer and staffing agency, and the extent to which the temporary workers are being supervised on a day-to-day basis by either the host employer or the staffing agency.