25 Tips for Ensuring the Safety of Temporary Employees

Date First Published on SafetySmart Compliance: October 15th, 2015

Use the following information, provided by the Arkansas Department of Labor, to ensure that your temporary workers receive the same safety and health protections as your permanent employees:

  1. Establish minimum training standards for temporary and vulnerable employees—for example, new and young workers, older workers or immigrant workers.
  2. Work with staffing agencies to jointly design and provide a temporary and vulnerable employee training checklist to verify all training received.
  3. Provide staffing agencies with necessary training materials, including job descriptions for specific jobs the temporary and/or vulnerable workers will be performing.
  4. Reinforce staffing agency training and also provide additional resources for specific training.
  5. Take necessary steps to help temporary and vulnerable employees blend into the workplace. For example, encourage team leaders to be part of the orientation process.
  6. Evaluate the training effectiveness of temporary/vulnerable workers through observation and communication to ensure they comprehend the training.
  7. Treat all employees equally by permitting all workers to attend safety meetings and informing all employees that they are accountable for their actions.
  8. Ensure that adequate personal protective equipment is provided and all workers receive training on its use.
  9. Discuss potential hazards and at-risk areas with temporary and vulnerable workers before they begin work.
  10. Inform temporary/vulnerable employees that they are required to report all near misses, unsafe acts, unsafe conditions and injuries. They should be told where, when, to whom and how to report concerns.
  11. Never pressure staffing agencies to provide untrained temporary and vulnerable employees when trained employees are not available.
  12. Never require temporary or vulnerable employees to rush while performing a job, or to perform a hazardous job with which they are not familiar.
  13. Never require temporary/vulnerable workers to perform a job in an unsafe manner in order to obtain a permanent job.
  14. Never communicate with temporary or vulnerable employees with threatening statements such as “You can easily be replaced.”
  15. Stress and enforce the importance of not taking risks or shortcuts to perform jobs.
  16. Give staffing agencies an open invitation to your safety meetings.
  17. Try to establish a pre-hire pool of temporary employees who are job ready.
  18. Discuss with temporary employees and the staffing agency the types of work-related injuries that may occur at specific locations.
  19. Talk to temporary employees about who may be affected should an injury occur; including injured workers coping with pain; concerned co-workers; co-workers who may feel the injured employee has created more work for them; supervisors who will handle work disruption and employee replacement; and family members who may experience financial and social distress.
  20. Establish a means for temporary employees to make complaints and raise safety issues anonymously.
  21. Inform staffing agencies before a temporary worker is transferred to another position.
  22. Give constant feedback to temporary employees.
  23. Explain work rules and policies to the staffing agency, as well as to temporary/vulnerable employees. This should include work rules and policies covering attendance, work ethics, safety, work or production standards, and the work environment.
  24. Assign positive-minded permanent employees to mentor temporary employees.
  25. Remind temporary employees of their value to your company’s safety program, because their eyes are the first set of eyes to see a hazard.