July 7, 2023

Safety Solutions for Temporary Staffing Agencies: Onboarding New Clients

Many temporary staffing agencies are unaware that they share responsibility for ensuring worker safety and health with their host employers.

Every contract signed becomes a partnership in safety between two or more parties, and failure to address hazards with proper controls could mean financial responsibility for everyone.

Since agencies have such a short window of time with their staffed workers before beginning a new job at the host’s site, learning to facilitate quick but meaningful interactions becomes a necessity.

With the launch of OSHA’s Temporary Worker Initiative, solely relying on the host employer to provide a safe working environment and adequate safety training is no longer an option. This becomes more apparent when a staffing agency confronts a string of claims that dramatically impacts its bottom line.  

To facilitate meaningful safety interactions with clients and help Pinnacol customers foster a robust safety culture, Pinnacol recommends implementing these six safety items.  

  1. Conduct Thorough Evaluation of Potential Co-Host(s) 

Before sending out employees to work for a customer, it's important for the staffing agency to vet potential customers to ensure that they have a strong commitment to safety. A formal vetting process should include the use of a safety intake form. This resource is used by staffing agencies to identify the hazards and controls at a potential co-host’s workplace. Pinnacol has a free Temporary Staffing Safety Program Checklist template available as a quick and easy tool to evaluate job sites.

  1. Establish Safety Responsibilities

Staffing agencies should create detailed, dated and signed agreements that clearly outline safety responsibilities for each party.

Agreements should cover:

  • New hire and job-specific training
  • Safety awareness meeting frequency
  • Job site-specific rules
  • Ongoing job site tour frequency
  • Incident investigations 
  • Job changes and task deviations

  1. Participate in Job Site Tours

Before sending a temporary workforce to a new place of business, staffing agencies should conduct a job site tour or obtain pictures from the potential co-host to understand the nature of the work that will be performed. Job site tours will help identify any potential safety hazards and verify that employees are adequately prepared for the job. Ongoing job site tours should be discussed with the co-host to confirm that work conditions are safe and job descriptions are accurate. The frequency of these job site tours should be determined prior to signing a contract.

  1. Offer Safety and Health Training

All employees should receive general safety and job-specific training. Staffing agencies are often responsible for providing general safety training to all staffed workers before they begin work at the co-host’s site. Training should include the administration of safety quizzes for employees to demonstrate competency and verify that expectations are properly communicated. Pinnacol has a comprehensive catalog of training materials specifically tailored for staffing agencies. These training materials can be accessed through our Safety Education Online Learning Management System. Our technical training meets or exceeds current OSHA training requirements.

New hire training might include: 

  • Hazard Communication Basics
  • OSHA 10- and 30-Hour Courses
  • Blood-Borne Pathogens
  • Material Handling and Ergonomics
  • Situational Awareness
  • Human Resources and Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance Training

  1. Participate in Incident Investigations

If an incident or near miss occurs, an agency representative should take the time to visit the injured worker, review the job site, take pictures and participate in the investigation process. Staffing agency representatives who take part in the investigation process can provide an outside, objective view of the factors that may have led to the incident. Clear communication and a partnered approach between the host employer and staffing agency facilitate a learning opportunity for all stakeholders. To learn more about conducting investigations, review Pinnacol’s Incident Investigation Webinar and download the Incident Investigation How-To Guide for a comprehensive investigation tool.

  1. Advocate for injured employees

Be an advocate for injured employees by accompanying them to doctor’s appointments. Injured workers often need guidance when navigating the claim process and frequent communication and check-ins are great ways to foster trust. Pinnacol’s claims representatives are available to discuss the status of a claim and answer questions regarding their claim.  Studies show that the longer an employee is off work, the lower their chances of resuming work are. One of the best ways to help an injured employee recover while keeping claim costs down, is to offer modified work tasks. Pinnacol’s Return to Work consulting experts are available to help design the right program for individual claims or assist in creating a proactive program to safely get employees back to work.

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