A joint case study by American Staffing Association and National Safety Council created a fictional scenario involving a temporary worker assigned to an employer. In this scenario, the worker was assigned to do welding work indoors with a portable generator and portable welding equipment, and fumes were emitted by the equipment. The goal was to help staffing agencies and employers determine who is responsible for any safety and reporting issues that may develop.
Before the workers start their assignment, the staffing agency and host employer should determine who will control workplace conditions. The party that controls work conditions should be the one that is best able to keep hazards to a minimum or be in a position to help workers who are injured. Generally, the host employer is the one that will report to OSHA if an injury results in hospitalization or amputation.
However, both sides should notify the other if they find out about an injury. A lack of communication could ultimately be a hazard to a worker’s safety and well-being. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of both sides to ensure that a worker is properly trained, has access to safety equipment and that injuries are properly reported.
Temporary employees who are injured in a workplace accident are likely covered by the agency’s workers’ compensation insurance policy and not that of the host employer. Benefits that might be available thereunder include the provision of medical care and treatment. There may be situations where the agency denies or disputes the claim on the grounds that it didn’t witness the accident and was not notified by the host employer. If this happens, the worker may want to meet with an attorney in order to determine how best to proceed.