Category Archives: Health Care

What to do: To help keep Temporary Workers Safe

OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have put new Recommended Practices in place to protect temporary workers in the workplace.

Concern for the well-being of temporary workers has been a concern for OSHA and NIOSH lately. Their newly released Recommended Practices provide ways for staffing agencies and host employers to work together to provide a safe environment for these workers.

The Recommended Practices include:

◾Staffing agencies and host employers must work together to ensure the safety of these workers — both are responsible for these workers’ well-being.

◾Before working with a new host employer, staffing agencies should evaluate work sites, identify safety issues and the types of training temporary workers will need.

◾Agency staff should be trained to recognize safety hazards so they can work with the host employer to ensure that proper measures are taken to prevent an incident.

◾Be sure that staffing agencies and host employers know and understand each others’ safety plans. This way, they can mutually hold one another to the highest standard when it comes to the safety of temporary workers.

◾The host employer and agency should create a contract stating who will be responsible for each aspect of the workers’ safety. This means defining the workers’ job requirements, who will provide the necessary PPE, and agreeing on everyone’s rights and responsibilities.

◾Host employers and agencies should have open communication about any incidents that happen on the job. Both groups should agree on an incident reporting system so that all information is communicated quickly and effectively.

◾Both the staffing agency and host employer are responsible for providing adequate safety training for temporary workers. It is the responsibility of the host employers to train temporary workers as they would any other permanent staff.

OSHA’s focus on protecting temporary workers doesn’t stop at the companies hiring the short-term help. Inspectors are also paying close attention to staffing agencies.

Why’s the healthcare industry neglected?

Healthcare workers not receiving enough protection from OSHA with the highest number of worker injuries, this industry is one of the least protected by OSHA. A report by Public Citizen shows that healthcare workers suffer more annual injuries and illnesses on the job than any other industry, OSHA conducts few facility inspections due to a lack of existing safety standards.

About 650,000 healthcare employees sustain injuries or illnesses each year. This blows past the second most affected industry, manufacturing. To issue citations for ergonomic problems, OSHA must use the General Duty Clause, which states that employers have a duty to protect employees from recognized hazards that could lead to injury or death. The construction industry receives the most OSHA inspections. The agency inspects one-twentieth as many healthcare facilities as construction sites, even though the number of healthcare workers more than doubles construction workers. OSHA has launched a new campaign to protect healthcare workers from the hazards that lead to MSDs. These workers will receive information about controlling hazards and implementing a zero-lift program, which uses special lifting equipment to minimize the worker’s exertion. The campaign will raise awareness and benefit healthcare workers.