Temporary staffing is a way to help companies manage aspects of supply and demand in their industries. Temporary workers provide a 'cushion' in terms of matching productivity demands with available labor. But in many situations where third-party services provide staffing for client companies, there are some gray areas when it comes to worker safety.

A Joint Responsibility

In general, companies that acquire, train and provide workers for industry have a joint responsibility with the client companies where these temporary workers may end up. A look at online resources from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, shows that the agency acknowledges this shared responsibility and promotes adequate safety practices for both staffing service companies and individual employers who may take in temporary workers as a way to ramp up production or pursue other business goals.

Sharing Joint Responsibility

In a practical sense, staffing services are typically responsible for screening workers according to their abilities and needs. A staffing service will often assess workers for proficiency with the English language. They will look at workers' backgrounds to determine where their skill sets are. The agency may test workers on specific work skills or software packages to make sure they are proficient. And in general, an agency would show them training videos and provide orientation services to help workers know what to expect on the job.

Much of this responsibility involves training and preparation. On the client company end, companies that contract with staffing services need to be responsible for maintaining safe premises and work environments.

The client company is generally responsible for issues like hazardous materials in the workplace, safe handling for equipment, safe use of vehicles and machines, and more. Whether or not workers in the field have the right personal protective equipment, and whether there are obstacles or safety hazards on premises, are things that generally fall into the lap of the company that has contracted for the labor. These are just basic guidelines, and each injury case will have its own relevant details that will determine liability.

A Common Burden

In a very general sense, both parties will be liable for any negligence or inattention to safety that will land a temporary worker in a hospital or contribute to an accident and injury. Personal injury attorneys will look at every aspect of the case to figure out how to get compensation for an injured worker, whether or not that person has a temporary contract or a full-time salary. But for temporary workers, the contract between the staffing service and the business operator is much more relevant, and something that can often come up during the course of an injury hearing or other legal process. Contact a personal injury attorney for more information.