Keeping Workers Safe This Winter

For many employers, winter means seasonal workers and inclement weather, both of which can have implications for worker safety under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA).  Winter weather creates a variety of hazards that can have lingering impacts on work activities. Under OSHA, each employer is responsible for providing a safe workplace for its workers. Employers must protect workers from the anticipated hazards associated with the winter storm response operations that workers are likely to conduct.

With regard to temporary employers, who is responsible for compliance with applicable OSHA standards: the temporary staffing agency or the host employer? The extent of legal responsibility of staffing agencies and host employers depends on the specific facts of each case.  However, OSHA takes the position that both staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers. To ensure that the necessary protections are provided and that there is a clear understanding of each employer’s role in protecting workers, it is recommended that staffing agencies and host employers set out in their contracts their respective responsibilities for things like training, hazard communication, and recordkeeping.

If you have any questions about worker safety or compliance with OSHA, please contact Steve O’Day.

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