Nurse staffing firms play a critical role in the nation’s health care system by quickly and efficiently supplying hundreds of thousands of health care workers in a wide range of skill categories on an as-needed basis. Registered and Licensed Practical Nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants are among the professionals whom nurse staffing firms employ and assign.
Temporary Worker Safety Resources
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The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the American Staffing Association signed an agreement to help protect the health and safety of temporary workers.
Yesterday, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration released “Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Requirements,” the first bulletin in a series of guidance documents that OSHA intends to release as part of its Temporary Worker Safety Initiative.
ASA has learned that some staffing firm clients are asking staffing firms to record the illnesses and injuries of their temporary workers in the name of the staffing firm, not the client.
Representatives of the American Staffing Association and its employee safety committee met with Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels and other representatives from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration last week.
The Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor have cracked down on worker misclassification, the penalties for which can be severe. Staffing firms are a good option for companies because most workers assigned through a staffing arrangement can only be classified as employees. Staffing firms generally recruit and screen the workers, and verify their work status under immigration laws. Clients typically will be joint employers because, among other things, they supervise and direct the employees’ day-to-day work. Given the employee status of most staffing firm workers, the potential liability clients face with respect to independent contractors is largely avoided.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently added a page to its website that addresses temporary worker safety. The “Protecting Temporary Workers” page at osha.gov explains the joint responsibility of staffing firms and clients to maintain a safe work environment for temporary workers.
OSHA’s representatives stated that, to date, approximately 300 client inspections have yielded over 340 safety violations in which temporary workers were exposed to dangerous or hazardous work conditions. Representatives of the American Staffing Association and its employee safety committee met with assistant secretary of labor David Michaels, as well as other representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, last week as part of an ongoing dialogue and effort to enhance temporary workers’ safety and well-being.