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Job safety for temporary workers

Employers in Illinois are responsible for providing safe work environments for their employees. This includes both permanent and temporary workers. But for temporary workers who are placed by staffing agencies, the responsibility for safety is shared by the employer and the staffing agency. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends communication between the staffing agency and host employer to ensure that both parties understand their respective roles in temporary worker safety.

OSHA has expressed concerns that temporary workers may be more vulnerable to workplace hazards than permanent employees for several reasons. Temporary workers sometimes get placed in a variety of jobs, possibly without adequate training. In addition, some employers might use temporary workers as a means of avoiding full compliance with safety standards. OSHA advises employers that they are required to treat all employees, both permanent and temporary, the same in terms of safety and training.

When safety violations occur and involve temporary workers, OSHA might hold both the employer and staffing agency accountable. Staffing agencies are not required to be fully educated on the safety hazards at a workplace, but they should have a general understanding of hazards that exist at host employers' work sites and how temporary workers can be protected. It is also the responsibility of a staffing agency to verify that the employer has fulfilled its obligations for the safety of its workers.

Workers who are injured during the performance of work duties are usually covered under workers' compensation. This type of insurance is usually carried by employers to cover permanent employees. Temporary workers are often covered as well by workers' compensation carried by a temporary staffing agency.

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