Washington State Enacts Temporary Worker Safety Law

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Last week, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a new law aimed at ensuring temporary worker safety in the construction and manufacturing industries. The law requires host employers to review the safety training provided by staffing firms, document and inform staffing firms about the site-specific hazards temporary workers may face, and train temporary workers on any such hazards. If a temporary worker’s job tasks or work location change and new hazards may be encountered, the host employer must inform the staffing firm and employees and must ensure that updated training and personal protective equipment are provided, as necessary.

The law also makes clear that staffing firms must inquire about the work site employer’s health and safety practices and job hazards prior to placement of temporary workers. In the event a staffing firm becomes aware of job hazards that are not mitigated, it must make the host employer aware and, if the hazards are not corrected, remove temporary workers from the assignment.

The law was drafted by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. Given that passage was all but certain, the American Staffing Association, lobbyist Melissa Gombosky, and members of the ASA employee safety committee worked with L&I to remove unnecessary and overly burdensome requirements.

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