Who is responsible for temporary injured workers?

Usually, when a North Carolina employee is injured on the job, they can file a workers’ compensation claim to recover costs associated with their injury, including medical bills and lost wages. A workers’ compensation claim is usually available for full-time workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is in charge of ensuring safe workplace conditions for all employees, so when a work accident takes place, the agency also sends inspectors to investigate the accident and hold the employer accountable if necessary. This is usually the case when a full-time worker gets hurt on the job. But what happens when a temporary worker is injured?

There has been a lot of concern recently about the workplace safety of temporary workers–shuffled between staffing agencies and host employers, they often end up getting overlooked when injured on the job. OSHA has taken notice of multiple reports of temporary workers becoming injured in serious work accidents and has addressed the issue through its Temporary Worker Initiative. This initiative attempts to combine training, enforcement and outreach.

According to OSHA, both the staffing agency and the host firm are responsible for ensuring worker safety to a certain extent. The staffing agency is in charge of ensuring that workers know about their rights and responsibilities under OSHA and provide them with basic safety and health training, while the host agency should educate workers about the industry specific hazards. Since every working situation is unique, OSHA recommends that both employers coordinate with one another to ensure temporary workers are fully protected from getting hurt on the job.

Since the employer of the host firm is the one supervising the worker on a daily basis and can control the working environment and potential work hazards, the host firm is in charge of recording temporary worker injuries and illnesses. The employer should also inform the staffing agency of these injuries on a regular basis so both can work together to come up with techniques to lessen temporary worker’s injuries.

Source: Safety.blr.com, “OSHA issues guidance for recording temp worker injuries,” March 18, 2014

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