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Free technical report helps employers protect temporary workers

Many businesses are increasingly using temporary workers during the holiday season and throughout the year, making it challenging to provide safe environments without proper planning and guidance. The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) has published a free technical report that can help employers in all industries better protect workers who are hired on a short-term basis.

The digital report is titled “ASSP TR-Z590.9-2023 Technical Report: Protecting Temporary Workers: Best Practices for Host Employers.” The document was originally published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), but ASSP has turned it into an ANSI-registered technical report to bring the guidance to a wider group of occupational safety and health professionals.

Jim Thornton headshot

James Thornton, CSP, CIH, FASSP, FAIHA, is president of consulting firm Alpha Industries LLC

“When a workforce involves temporary and short-term work arrangements, the likelihood of an injury or fatality can increase,” said ASSP President Jim Thornton, CSP, CIH, FASSP, FAIHA. “It’s important for businesses to implement safeguards in non-standard circumstances to ensure the safety and health of all workers.”

The technical report enables organizations to integrate best practices into their safety and health management systems, going beyond regulatory compliance to achieve safer working conditions and a competitive advantage.

The content in the document is organized into three sections: 1) Evaluation and contracting, 2) Training for temporary workers and their work site supervisors, and 3) Injury and illness reporting, response and recordkeeping. The technical report is focused on temporary or contract workers located in the same facility. That includes a construction site, which often involves multiple subcontractors.

“Single work sites may include workers who are employed by different companies, so the supervising employer needs to manage the safety of everyone,” Thornton said. “That includes warehouses during the holiday season where temp agencies will help place a number of workers.”

A related resource for businesses that use short-term workers is ASSP’s recently published book, “Safety Management Systems in a Joint-Employer Environment.” The book explains the escalation of risk in a joint-employer setting and describes how the traditional approach to managing hazards has not kept pace with the speed of today’s changing world of work.

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