Keeping Seasonal Workers Safe
Seasonal and temporary employees are an essential part of many industries. They fill vacancies left by permanent employees on sabbatical, family leave, or disability. They help retail businesses meet sales goals during the holiday season. They staff summer camps and landscaping crews, seasonal destinations, and special projects.
It is essential to provide temporary workers with the same level of safety training as a permanent employee would receive. All workers have a right to a safe working environment.
Conduct Regular Training on Emergency Procedures
Ensure that all employees are informed about emergency procedures, no matter the length of their employment. Inform workers how to properly report a work–related injury or illness.
Provide Job–Specific Safety Training
Assess the job responsibilities of everyone working for your company, identify the hazards involved, and provide safety training for those hazards. Include the worker’s specific job duties in their contract and refrain from asking the worker to perform any tasks not listed in the agreement.
Post Important Safety Information
Signs and posters throughout the workplace can help remind all employees of important safety information. For example, each room in a building should contain emergency egress maps.
Maintain a Safety Committee and a Safety Program
Safety committees set goals, monitor progress, create educational programs, and stay current on industry trends. They are an important part of a company–wide safety program.
Seasonal and temporary workers are just as responsible for maintaining a safe and healthy environment as other employees. Create processes that hold everyone accountable for safety.
Request Documentation of Any Safety Training Already Provided
Ensure that training is provided equally to employees hired by your organization and those provided by a staffing agency. Some staffing agencies may provide safety training before sending an employee to a jobsite. Evaluate and maintain a copy of this training within your own business records.
Restrict Temporary Employees from Performing High–Risk Responsibilities
Any jobs that require formal certification should only be performed by licensed employees. Identify tasks that present hazards — such as operating forklifts, entering confined spaces, or using ladders — and set specific guidelines prohibiting temporary and seasonal employees from those jobs.
Document and Report Any Work–Related Injuries
Besides your mandated reporting of work–related injuries to OSHA, you should also share that an injury took place with the staffing agency who provided the worker. OSHA requires that the host employer (your business) keep Injury and Illness Logs.
Protecting Temporary Workers (n.d.). Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. osha.gov/temporaryworkers
Recommended Practices: Protecting Temporary Workers (2014). Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2014–139, OSHA 3735–2014. osha.gov
Temporary & Seasonal Employees (2018). Environmental Health & Safety, Princeton University. ehs.princeton.edu