Communication & Coordination for Host Employers, Contractors & Staffing Agencies

In today's economy, an increasing number of workers are assigned by staffing agencies to work at specific host worksites under the direction and control of the host employer. Examples include seasonal workers, such as delivery drivers and warehouse workers, who may be placed in both short- and long-term assignments. In these situations, it is important for the staffing agency and the host employer to communicate and coordinate to provide and maintain a safe work environment for their workers.

In other situations, some workers are employed by a host employer and others by a contractor or subcontractor. Examples include electrical or mechanical contractors working in a facility, a vendor installing or maintaining equipment, or long-term contractors providing building cleaning and maintenance. OSHA refers to these as "multiemployer" worksites. In these circumstances, it is important that each employer and contractor consider how its work and safety activities can affect the safety of other employers and workers at the site.

In both temporary worker and multi-employer situations, safety is enhanced if employers establish mechanisms to coordinate their efforts and communicate effectively to afford all workers equal protection against hazards. These mechanisms include measures to ensure that all workers on site (and their representatives) can participate in preventing injuries and illnesses. Failure to take these steps may undermine safety plans. For example, if the different employers have inconsistent policies for when and where to wear personal protective equipment, workers may mistakenly believe that the equipment is not needed, leading to injury. Inconsistent safety policies may also cause workers to question the credibility of safety plans, resulting in less meaningful employee engagement and participation.

Effective communication and coordination among such employers means that before coming on site, contractors, and staffing agencies and their workers, are aware of:

  • The types of hazards that may be present;
  • The procedures or measures they need to use to avoid or control their exposure to these hazards; and
  • How to contact the host employer to report an injury, illness, or incident or if they have a safety concern.

In addition, host employers and their workers must be made aware of:  

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