Employers who rely on temporary workers may soon find themselves required to train the temporaries as though they were their own employees.

In a recent article in “Material Handling and Logistics” it was outlined that OSHA, and The Department of Labor believe that both staffing firms AND employers are jointly responsible for safety violations involving temporary employees. This represents a significant shift in responsibility and will put the employer at risk for OSHA fines and litigation in cases involving on the job accidents and temporary workers.

Historically the staffing agency held the majority of the risk when a temporary employee was injured on the job. The courts have recently ruled that those who utilize the temporary workers are “joint employers” with the staffing agency thus jointly liable.

What this means to you is training, especially safety training, of your temporary employees just became much more important. It is now incumbent on you to provide the same level of safety training to all workers. This can be problematic for you because temporary workers are, well, temporary. They tend to have a higher turnover rate and may only be with you for a few weeks or months. Plus your training budget is tight and you don’t have the time to train a lot more workers.

So what can you do to minimize your exposure to the new OSHA guidelines and keep training costs reasonable? Consider online training or more commonly called eLearning. It’s a fast, easy and economical way to train large groups and remain compliant with the new guidelines.

Consider the following about eLearning…..

  • Every employee is trained with the same content every time so there is no variation in the message. You will know everyone is trained the same.
  • It is web based and hosted by a LMS provider so you will need minimal involvement from your IT group, which is often a big hurdle to get past.
  • Safety courses can be generic, or customized to your business.
  • The same training can be offered in multiple languages. The employee simply clicks his/her language preference on the opening screen.
  • All training history is documented online. No paper records to maintain.
  • No need to train in large groups and tie up your workforce for hours.
  • A simple quiz at the end ensures understanding of the safety content.
  • Simple and easy reports can be run to verify who has been trained, reminders can even be set up for those who have not completed the training.
  • Another way to streamline your safety training is to allow your eLearning provider to coordinate through your temporary agency so they are responsible for ensuring the required training is done in advance of the temporary worker’s start date. This takes the training burden off of you and gets them working and productive on the first day.

OSHA has stated that the employer is best suited to provide site specific and job specific training and therefore, the burden of training rests on the employer, not the temporary agency.
If you employ temporary or seasonal workers, let KMI help you meet the guidelines while keeping your cost low and training downtime to a minimum.

For more information or to speak to a KMI training professional.