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Ask the Experts: OSHA 300 Log and Temps

Question: We conduct hearing tests on employees and record any discovered hearing loss on our OSHA 300 log. Are we required to conduct tests on our temporary workers, and if so, should we report those hearing losses differently?

Answer: “Temporary workers” are workers hired and paid by a staffing agency and supplied to a host employer to perform work on a temporary basis. Temporary workers are entitled to the same protections under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) as all other covered workers. This means that – to answer the first part of your question – you are required to conduct the same testing on temporary workers as you do on permanent employees.

OSHA will generally consider the staffing agency and host employer to be “joint employers” of the worker in this situation. Joint employment is a legal concept recognizing that, in some situations, the key attributes of the traditional employer-employee relationship are shared by two or more employers in such a manner that they each bear responsibility for compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements. For example, the staffing agency often controls a worker’s paycheck and selects the host employer location where the worker will be sent. The host employer, in turn, assigns the particular work to be done each day and controls operations in the physical workplace.

To answer the second part of your question about OSHA 300 reporting, injuries and illnesses should only be recorded on one employer’s log. Which employer is responsible for injury and illness recordkeeping is determined by supervision. Supervision occurs when “in addition to specifying the output, product, or result to be accomplished by the person’s work, the employer supervises the details, means, methods, and processes by which the work is to be accomplished.” An employer is performing day-to-day supervision when it controls conditions presenting potential hazards and directs the workers’ activities around, and exposure to, those hazards.

In most cases, the host employer provides this day-to-day supervision and is therefore responsible for recording the injuries and illnesses of temporary workers.

OSHA’s Temporary Worker Initiative bulletin addresses how to identify who is responsible for recording work-related injuries and illnesses of temporary workers on the OSHA 300 log.

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