Host Employer Responsible for Recording Temp-Worker Injuries

By Roy Maurer Mar 17, 2014

In a guidance document, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has clarified who is responsible for recording injuries and illnesses of temporary workers jointly employed by a staffing agency and a host employer.

Both employers are partly responsible for determining the employment conditions and for complying with the law, OSHA said in the March 13, 2014, bulletin, but the nature of joint employment has led to questions about which business is responsible for recording work-related injuries and illnesses.

The bulletin, the first in a promised series under OSHA’s Temporary Worker Initiative, makes clear that only one employer should record injuries and illnesses. “In most cases, the host employer is the one responsible for recording the injuries and illnesses of temporary workers.”

OSHA’s determination about injury and illness record-keeping responsibility is based on which entity has day-to-day supervision—usually the host employer. The agency defines day-to-day supervision as meaning: “[I]n addition to specifying the output, product or result to be accomplished by the person’s work, the employer supervises the details, means, methods and processes by which the work is to be accomplished.”

The presence of a staffing-agency representative at the host employer’s worksite does not necessarily transfer record-keeping responsibilities to the agency; as long as the host employer maintains day-to-day supervision over the worker, it is responsible for recording injuries and illnesses.

Shared Responsibility

The nonsupervising employer still shares responsibility for its workers’ safety and health, OSHA said. The staffing agency (in most cases the nonsupervising employer) should maintain frequent communication with its workers and the host employer to ensure that any injuries and illnesses are properly reported, to be alerted about any workplace hazards, and to stay apprised of the outcome of any injury or illness.

OSHA recommends that the staffing agency and the host employer set up contractual notification procedures so that when a worker informs either organization of an injury or illness, the other is notified, as well. OSHA could hold both the host and temporary-agency employers responsible for any violative conditions, including lack of adequate training on workplace hazards.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy

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