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New OSHA memo addresses safety of temporary workers

There has been a tremendous increase in the number of temporary workers being employed throughout the United States, which could be of concern to Georgia workers. Unfortunately, many of the tasks being performed by temporary workers can be very hazardous, which puts many at risk for workplace injuries and in some cases, fatal injuries.

Recently released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistic revealed that 12 percent of the almost 4,700 workers who were involved in fatal work accidents in 2011 were temporary workers. Sadly, many temporary workers are injured or killed on their very first day of employment, prompting OSHA to step up its efforts to preserve the health and safety of America's temporary workforce with a new memorandum designed set clear guidelines for businesses to follow when preparing temporary workers for their duties.

The OSHA memorandum reminds employers that they are ultimately responsible for the safety of all of their employees, including temporary workers, even if they receive assurances from a temporary employment staffing agency that appropriate job training has been provided. One of the key reforms required by the new OSHA memorandum is that temporary workers should receive instruction and training in a language that they understand. Businesses who are not currently equipped to communicate with a multilingual work force will be required to make the necessary accommodations needed to ensure that workplace training is not only provided but also understood.

Employers who do not comply with these updated OSHA standards will face stiff penalties, including fines, lawsuits or even the closure of their business. Attorneys practicing in the area of employment law and workers' rights could assist individuals dealing with workplace injuries in seeking compensation and needed treatment.

Source: Human Resource Executive Online, "OSHA Steps Up Temp Safety Efforts", Tom Starner, May 28, 2013

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