Summer’s in full swing, and that means many companies are bringing on temporary workers to fill the gaps while their full-time employees take vacations. This can be a great opportunity for those temporary workers and the companies who hire them, but it’s also one of the most dangerous times of the year.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, temporary workers are twice as likely to suffer injuries as full-time employees doing the same jobs. What’s more, the injured temps averaged 40 missed workdays, compared to just 27 among full-timers.
What’s the cause of all these accidents?
“We’ve seen over and over again temporary workers killed or seriously injured on their first day at work,” David Michaels, Director for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), told the New York Times. “When we investigate, we see that most employers don’t treat temporary workers the way they treat their permanent employees – they don’t provide them with the training that is necessary.”
In response to these growing concerns, OSHA has recently begun its Temporary Worker Initiative to hold companies accountable for their injury and illness recordkeeping requirements. The initiative applies to both staffing agencies and host employers, so everyone dealing with temporary employees needs to be diligent in keeping them safe. Here are a few ways you can do it:
Bring New Workers Up to Speed
Plenty of accidents occur because the victims lacked the proper training, not because they were behaving recklessly. Even if your temporary workers are experienced in your industry, you need to train them on your company’s safety procedures as well as your jobsites’ unique hazards and how to use job safety analysis documents to mitigate them.
Track Incidents Before, During and After Summer
Monitoring incidents over the long term is the best way to avoid them. Keep thorough records of incidents that occur throughout each year to determine your company’s trouble spots. Come summer time, make sure your temp workers are informed about these hazards before they clock in.
Pick the Right People For Your Jobs
Not every worker will be a good fit for each task, even if you’ve hired a competent, capable crew. When dealing with complicated machinery or hard-to-navigate safety hazards, make sure the assigned workers have the knowledge and experience necessary to stay safe. Before beginning a task, check training records to ensure your workers have the specific qualifications the job requires.
Encourage Employee Feedback
Your temp workers may have avoided incidents so far, but the only way to spot new dangers is to get their feedback. Conduct weekly or even daily safety meetings where everyone can voice their concerns.
Keep Summer Conditions in Mind
Summer can be particularly dangerous for full-time and temporary workers alike. To keep everyone as safe as possible, implement the following policies during the hottest months:
- Enforce the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), even bulky pieces that can be uncomfortable in the heat.
- Mandate regular breaks for cool-off and hydration.
- Make all data sheets, warning signs and safety procedures readily available to new workers.
- Encourage workers to hold each other accountable for staying safe, keeping cool and avoiding overwork.
Training, incident tracking and investigation are all a lot easier with a digital solution.
BasicSafe offers a comprehensive safety software capable of managing all your important safety documents to reduce the risks of injuries during the summer and throughout the year.
For more tips on safety management, download our guide, 9 Ways to Make Your Job as a Safety Manager Easier.