U.S. Department of Labor Announces New Initiative to Protect Temporary Workers

The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced this week that it has launched an initiative aimed at protecting “temporary workers” from workplace hazards. The U.S. Department of Labor cites a number of recent fatal injuries on the job by temporary workers. OSHA has communicated with its field inspectors and directed them to assess whether companies that are using temporary workers are complying with OSHA laws. Among other issues that inspectors will investigate are whether temporary workers have received required training in a language that they understand, and whether they continue to receive proper follow-up training.

While this news may not translate into a noticeable increase in OSHA inspections and findings of violations by Federal inspectors, it should serve as a reminder to all businesses that they have an affirmative obligation to maintain a safe and healthy workplace. Management should ask themselves whether their workplace is safe and whether they are in compliance with OSHA regulations. All businesses should seriously consider obtaining an onsite consultation concerning their OSHA compliance (or non-compliance) and should develop an OSHA compliance program. Last but not least, businesses should train their employees how to work in a safe manner in the workplace. Workplace injuries account for millions of dollars in losses for businesses each year, and result in unnecessary litigation and risk to employees – all of which provide strong incentives to take OSHA regulations seriously.

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Lisa Chapman

Lisa is an experienced employment attorney and litigator. In her employment law practice, she helps startup and mid-size companies navigate and comply with Federal and state employment laws and regulations. This includes laws related to wage and hour requirements, sexual harassment and retaliation, worker classification (independent contractor vs. employee status), and overtime laws, among others.
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