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.
YES! PPE, one-size-fits-all won’t work if you’re providing gear for women.
- Safety goggles are often too large for a woman’s face, and the loose fit can allow debris, fluids or other hazardous material to enter a worker’s eyes causing injury.
- Modifying a man’s protective clothing to fit a woman such as rolling up the sleeves or pant legs can be dangerous because the excess material can become caught in machinery or cause slips and falls
- Safety gloves are usually designed for men’s hands so women will try to make them fit with duct tape or stuffing cotton balls in the tips to keep them from falling off. This poor fit increases exponentially the potential for hand injuries.
- Female workers who are given protective footwear sized for men may experience more trips or slips while walking or climbing ladders.
- One-size-fits-all fall arrest harnesses should not be worn by women. Size and shape differences can affect the angles that straps fit into the harnesses. Loose fitting harnesses can hinder a worker’s movements and ability to work safely, OSHA says the reason why women encounter difficulty with PPE is the lack of a full range of PPE sizes and types at the retail, wholesale and distributor levels as well as employers’ limited knowledge of PPE designed for women.
Female workers who are concerned about ill-fitting PPE can approach their safety director armed with information that will offer solutions. More manufacturers are finally designing safety equipment to fit women. Studying the differences in body measurements between men and women has allowed manufacturers to offer work gloves to fit smaller hands and design safety goggles with tighter fits to eliminate gaping.
Keeping safe at the workplace
- Keep clutter and electrical cords out of pathways
- Use a stepladder, not a chair, if you need to reach for something
- Be aware of the condition of your floors: Tile tends to get slippery easily, while carpet provides more traction
- Lift with your knees: Use your leg muscles, not your back muscles, to pull yourself up
- Hold the object close to your body
- Don’t twist your body while lifting
- Learn how to adjust your office furniture to the correct position: Your back should be straight and your feet should be flat on the ground
- Vary your work so you aren’t in one position for a prolonged period of time
- Don’t cradle your phone between your ear and shoulder.
Storage and Equipment Safety
- Only open one filing cabinet drawer at a time to prevent the cabinet from tipping over
- Store heavier items on bottom shelves
- Keep loose clothing and long hair away from machinery such as shredders and space heaters,
- Keep paths to fire exits clear
- Do not block sprinklers
- Pay special attention to cords and maintaining electrical equipment, and
- Know your office’s fire escape plan.
*Keep current on your OSHA Training
*Wear your hard hats!
*know where your eyewash station is!
* Identify predictable hazards!
* Know your biohazard signs!
* Turn heavy machinery off when not in use!
Construction companies have a history with OSHA for ignoring safety standards. OSHA inspectors observed roofers working without fall protection. To avoid heavy OSHA fines and safety violations, companies should provide workers with fall protection such as guardrail systems, safety nets, warning-line systems or personal fall arrest systems. Protect workers from overhead hazards by providing head protection. keeping your employees safe will save you $55,000 in FINES
A challenging scenario you might face in the workplace: A safety manager just completed OSHA Safety Training for all his staff and now is trying to motivate workers to think about safety improvements, but he doesn’t have the budget to offer incentives. What would you do in this situation?
Offering gift cards to people that came up with the most ideas works for company with budget for safety incentives.
If you were the safety manager, what would you do in this situation, and why?