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OSHA sets sights on temporary workers' safety

Late last month the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2011, 11.5 percent of workplace deaths involved workers who were employed by one company but working at another. These are generally temporary workers, who are employed by a staffing agency and sent to work at another company, as well as security guards and electricians.

Temporary workers are known to face significant safety risks on job sites, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced this week that it is going to ramp up efforts to protect these workers from workplace accidents.

OSHA plans to implement new checks for inspectors who examine worksites where temporary employees work. These checks include determining whether the workplace conditions are up to OSHA's rules and standards as well as making sure that temporary workers receive adequate safety training and health training. The latter includes checking whether the training is in both a language and vocabulary that the temporary workers understand.

The new goal of focusing on the safety of temporary workers comes about after several temporary workers and contractors suffered serious and fatal injuries on the job in numerous workplaces within the last year. In one fatal case--at a bottling plant in Florida--it was determined that the victim could have been saved if he and his workers had been trained in the basic lockout/tag out procedures.

Hopefully, this new OSHA initiative will help put an end to preventable workplace accidents and injuries.

When accidents occur in the workplace here in Michigan, workers or their families may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits for their expenses and other losses. Those who are injured on the job, and the families of those who lose their lives, may wish to seek legal counsel in the aftermath of the accident.

Source: The Bloomberg BNA, "New OSHA Enforcement Initiative Focuses on Temporary Staffing Agency Workers," Occupational Safety & Health Reporter, May 2, 2013

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