Code Red! Code Red! Whos in Charge of Hazard Communication Training?
Dukes of HazardSince it is your staffing company that maintains a continuing relationship with its employees, but another employer (client) who creates and controls the hazards, there is a shared responsibility for assuming that your employees are protected from workplace hazards. Although certain chemical and gas hazards are less likely to happen in some work spaces than others, it's important that the client company and temporary staffing agency assess which are most prevalent and preventable.
Some hazardous chemicals and substances pose more serious threats to employee welfare, while others will result in time lost and/or serious workers compensation costs. Hazard communication planning and training is therefore essential at protecting employees from both immediate and long-term health effects.
No More Blame GameThe client has the primary responsibility of protecting workers. The lessor employer (staffing agency) likewise has a responsibility under the Occupational Safety and Health Act to ensure such training is being completed by the client. In meeting the requirements of OSHAs hazard communication standard, the lessor employer would be expected to provide the training and information requirements specified by hazard communication section 29 CFR 1910.1200(h)(1). Client employers would then be responsible for providing site-specific training and would have the primary responsibility to control potential exposure conditions. The client, of course, may specify what qualifications are required for supplied personnel, including training in specific chemical or personal protective equipment (PPE).
When PPE is required for temporary employees, client employers are responsible for providing the equipment necessary for site-specific hazards that employees can be exposed to. However, the client may specify the services that it wants the lessor employer to supply, including provision of PPE for the placed employees. Again, contracts with the client employer should clearly describe the responsibilities of both parties in order to ensure that all requirements of OSHA's regulations are met.
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