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Is Staffing Agency or Employer Responsible?

[Recently] a company asked OSHA who is responsible for recording injuries of contingent workers when supervision is shared by the host employer and the staffing agency. The company in question is a manufacturer. The staffing agency is responsible for:

  • hiring the employees
  • employee orientation and training
  • personnel matters including vacation requests, reporting injuries, compensation and benefits, discipline, and drug screening.

The company told OSHA the staffing agency “provides onsite supervision for these employees 24 hours per day, 5 days per week.”
But the company assigned the daily tasks to the workers staffed by the agency.

OSHA’s answer: “There is no evidence that the staffing agency supervises the details, means, methods, and process by which the work is to be performed. The activities conducted by the staffing agency … would typically be considered human resources activities and would not rise to the level of day-to-day supervision … Assigning daily tasks constitutes supervising … Accordingly, your company provides day-to-day supervision for purposes of OSHA recordkeeping.”
So the company would have to maintain injury records for contingent workers.

OSHA also noted: “There can only be one employer actually providing day-to-day supervision under OSHA’s recordkeeping regulation. In other words, for purposes of OSHA recordkeeping, there cannot be joint day-to-day supervision of temporary workers.”
Put another way: If you’re assigning them duties, you’re the employer and need to keep the OSHA injury log. Even if you consider your arrangement with the staffing agency to be joint supervision, OSHA doesn’t recognize such an arrangement as far as injury recordkeeping is concerned.

Fred Hoiser