Washington State’s New Temporary Worker Safety Law
By TERRA Staffing Group
Posted on May 28, 2021
A new law in Washington State calls upon staffing companies to team up with their customers to ensure temporary workers are trained to deal with specific hazards they will face on the job.
New Law Takes Effect July 25, 2021
The law, SHB 1206, which takes effect July 25, 2021, requires staffing companies to ask manufacturing and construction customers about their safety program/practices and the specific hazards for the job(s) they are looking to fill. Also, the staffing agency must provide general safety training to workers.
Worksite employers must document specific safety hazards and provide training on those hazards if not addressed by the staffing company’s general safety training.
Worksite Employer Responsibilities
According to the House Bill Report on this legislation, worksite employers have the following responsibilities:
- Before the employee engages in work for the worksite employer, the worksite employer must document and inform the staffing agency about anticipated job hazards;
- Review the staffing agency’s training to determine if it addresses recognized hazards for the worksite employer’s industry
- Provide specific training tailored to the particular hazards at the workplace
- Document and maintain records of site-specific training, and within three business days of providing training, provide confirmation to the staffing agency.
- If the worksite employer changes the job tasks or work location and new hazards may be encountered, the worksite employer must inform the staffing agency and employee of job hazards not previously covered and update personal protective equipment and training for the new job tasks, if necessary.
The new law requires staffing firms to provide temporary workers with L&I’s hotline for reporting safety concerns. The staffing agencies or the worksite employer cannot retaliate against a worker for reporting a safety concern.
The regulation was championed by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) after it determined temporary workers in manufacturing and construction are twice as likely to get hurt on the job than other workers.
“Every worker, temporary or permanent, should know about the hazards of their job and how to stay safe. We should expect no less. This law will make a real difference,” said L&I Director Joel Sacks.
TERRA’s Commitment to Its Customers
TERRA Staffing is committed to working with its customers to help them comply with the new regulation. TERRA was among the first staffing companies in the nation to earn the Safety Standard of Excellence certification from the American Staffing Association and the National Safety Council.
The organizations developed the Safety Standard of Excellence program to “encourage staffing firms to adopt workplace safety best practices and standards and to foster and measure continuous safety improvement across all industry sectors”—and only a select number of US staffing companies have earned the certification since it was implemented in 2016.
“At TERRA Staffing, our mission is ‘Success stories created daily.’ It’s at the core of everything we do as a company,” said Greg Lambert, CEO. “Every day is an opportunity to help write the next chapter in a worker’s success story and that can’t happen unless every worker returns home safely at the end of the day.”
The American Staffing Association (ASA), of which TERRA Staffing Group is a member, worked with the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) to remove unnecessary and overly burdensome requirements from the legislation when first proposed. The ASA expects to work closely with L&I as the new law is put in practice.
Some expect this law to catch on in other states.