I occasionally get asked about who has responsibility for an employee that is hired on a temporary basis through an agency. Many employers mistakenly think that since the person is not their employee and they are only paying a fee to receive that person’s services that they are not responsible for their safety or for reporting any injuries. Unfortunately that is a mistaken belief. Here is how to deal with a temporary employee who gets injured.
According to OSHA a temporary employee is a “shared responsibility” between the agency and the client company. In their opinion the client company shares the bigger part of the burden. This burden extends to providing the necessary site specific training and the necessary site specific personal protective equipment. In some things, such as hazard communication, the temp agency, called the “lessor employer” must supply the basic training and the client company must supply the site specific training. Since this applies to hazard communication I am sure the same standard would apply.
The responsibility for recording injuries of temporary employees falls squarely on the shoulders of the client company. Recording of injuries is not specific to the employer rather it is specific to a location. As the standard says:
You must record on the OSHA 300 Log the recordable injuries and illnesses of all employees on your payroll, whether they are labor, executive, hourly, salary, part-time, seasonal, or migrant workers. You also must record the recordable injuries and illnesses that occur to employees who are not on your payroll if you supervise these employees on a day-to-day basis. If your business is organized as a sole proprietorship or partnership, the owner or partners are not considered employees for recordkeeping purposes.
The specifically address the temporary worker in this question and answer: If I obtain employees from a temporary help service, employee leasing service, or personnel supply service, do I have to record an injury or illness occurring to one of those employees? You must record these injuries and illnesses if you supervise these employees on a day-to-day basis.
There is one exception to this. If you have a truly independent contractor who is injured on your location then you would not be responsible for recording their injury. One of the things that make them truly independent is that they have workers’ comp coverage or provide you with a release.
OSHA 300 is an establishment record
According to OSHA the definition of an establishment is:
Under Section 1904.46 Definitions, an establishment is a single physical location where business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed. The controlling employer (using firm) may sub-divide the OSHA 300 Log to provide separate listings of temporary workers, but must consider the separate listings to be one record for all recordkeeping purposes, including access by government representatives, employees, former employees and employee representatives as required by Section 1904.35 and 1904.40 in the Recordkeeping regulation. OSHA’s view is that a given establishment should have one OSHA Log. Injuries and illnesses for all the covered employees at the establishment are then entered into that record to create a single OSHA 300-A Summary form at the end of the year.
What you should do
If you use temporary employees it is key that you manage them appropriately.
- If there is general safety training that needs to be done make sure the temporary agency provides that training when you contract with them.
- When an employee is selected to fill the position at your company DO NOT let them start work without being given site specific safety training.
- Make sure you are providing that temp with all necessary protective equipment as you would any regular employee.
- Monitor their work habits and safety on a regular basis. They will be more likely to get injured because they are working in an area less familiar to them than it is for regular employees.
- Promptly notify the agency if they are injured.
- Make sure you promptly fill out a first report of injury and if it is recordable make sure that it is recorded on the OSHA 300 log.
Following these steps will help reduce the chance of injury and keep your relationship with the agency and the employee cleaner.
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