5 Steps You Need to Take to Protect Temporary Employees

Legally and ethically it doesn’t matter whether the employee is a temp or a permanent staff: their safety is your responsibility. This is why you need to take the necessary measures to keep them protected while they are working for your company.

Photo: Oscar King

Photo: Oscar King

It is normal to assume that your permanent employees are more important than your temporary employees, right? After all, your permanent employees are going to stick around for a while, and the temporary employees will be gone in no more than a year – so why waste extra effort?

Legally and ethically it doesn’t matter whether the employee is a temp or a permanent staff: their safety is your responsibility. This is why you need to take the necessary measures to keep them safe and protected while they are working for your organization.

With the rising number of temporary staff in various organizations, this has become even more important. So, what steps do you need to take to ensure they are safe? What procedures do you need to teach them? How should you approach their training given that you might want them to begin almost immediately? Most importantly, what can you do to ensure they get the appropriate training that will save their lives in the event of a mishap or an accident?

Follow ALL OSHA Safety Protocols

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has already mapped out standard safety protocols that will help make your workplace safe and reduce the instances of accidents. Establish these protocols in your workplace. Provide your employees with the necessary work wears, boots, eye goggles, face masks… everything they will need to stay safe while on the job. There’s an abundance of safety protocols on the OSHA website just in case you need them.

Perform Regular Safety Checks

Regular safety checks should be a part of your working procedures. This is particularly important when you’re working with heavy duty machines, potentially flammable materials and possible toxic substances. Periodic safety checks –say once every two weeks- will help ensure that your workplace is safe and hazard-free. Consult with a safety office if you don’t have one in-house. It is highly recommended though that you have a safety team on the ground if you do a lot of work involving heavy equipment.

Carry out the Necessary Hazard Assessments

Carrying out a periodic hazard assessment is important for your temporary and permanent staff’s well-being. Some of the common workplace hazards include powered industrial trucks, fall protection hazards, machine guarding, electrical hazards, fire hazards, hazards requiring lock out or tag out protections and hazard communications. While this list is by no means conclusive, these are some of the more common hazards found in most workplaces.

Establish Safety and Health Programs

For the staffing agency and the employer, it is important to carry out new project orientation and safety trainings for the new temporary staff. This orientation and training should show them general safety practice, possible work-specific, necessary precautionary and control measures.

There must be an open line of communication between the staffing agency, the temps and the employer. This will help ensure clear communication and in the case of exposed hazards, accidents or injuries on the job, will ensure they are promptly addressed and corrected.

Also, make sure to establish incentive programs for all safety procedures. For instance, the employer can offer a handsome bonus to any team whose members do not suffer any work related injuries over 4-6 weeks. Incentives like this often greatly improve safety in many organizations.

Equal Employee Treatment

Always ensure there’s a supervisor for both temporary and permanent staff. Ensure that they are equally treated at the workplace and get their required compensation and remuneration. Frequently carry out safety drills, put safety measures in place for both types of employees. Lastly, you might want to pair up permanent experienced staff with the temporary staff until the temp is able to take care of things on their own.

Employers and employees alike are greatly encouraged to visit the OSHA website and study the compliance assistance resources there.

About the author

Oscar King works as a health and safety auditor for OSHA, and strives to ensure that businesses have access to the best information for keeping workers safe. For helping to keep businesses safe he fully ecommends ecompliance.com.

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