To meet excess demand during the holiday season, many companies need to hire part-time or seasonal workers. The hiring of seasonal help is common in the retail industry and the hospitality industry, but other companies may also bring in extra help as well, including landscape companies hired to do holiday decorations for their customers.
Whenever seasonal workers are hired, these temporary employees often come into the job unfamiliar with workplace safety protocols. This means these employees are at added risk of injury, and their lack of knowledge of safety processes can also endanger all full-time workers on-the-job as well. Employers need to be aware that seasonal temp hires can present added risks of accidents and must take all reasonable steps to reduce the dangers.
Employer Responsibility for Seasonal Workers
Many companies hire seasonal workers through staffing agencies, and some make the mistake in assuming the staffing agency rather than the employer are solely responsible for the safety of temp employees. While it is true that staffing agencies generally pay workers’ compensation premiums for temp employees, there are some situations where there is not the case. Further, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) warns employers are still required to comply with labor laws for temp workers and have a joint responsibility with the staffing agency to create a safe working environment.
Under OSHA rules, employers must make sure that even seasonal workers have sufficient training related to dangers in the workplace. Hazard communication is also mandated and record keeping rules for employee injuries still apply, even if a worker is only employed on a seasonal basis. Good communication with the staffing agency is advised so an employer and staffing agency can work out what safety equipment and training are necessary and who will provide this equipment and training. Staffing agencies are also obliged to look into the conditions of workplaces where they send employees and should make sure conditions are adequate.
Since the staffing agencies usually cover employees for Boston workplace injuries, their insurer could end up paying for medical costs, disability benefits, and other workers’ comp benefits. This means staffing agencies have a strong incentive to check conditions. Employers who face the potential for OSHA fines for failure to provide a safe environment for seasonal workers also need to be aware of the potential for significant financial liability if they don’t provide a safe worksite.
In addition to compliance with all safety rules and regulations, employers need to make sure they provide adequate time for seasonal workers to perform tasks since new hires may not be able to work as quickly as full-time employees. Giving seasonal workers too many tasks in too short a period of time can lead to the employee rushing and cutting corners, which increase the chances of workplace injuries for everyone.
By providing adequate time, adequate training, and appropriate personal protective equipment for seasonal staff, hopefully employers can make sure their holiday hires get safely through the festive season.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Boston work accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
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