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Who is responsible for contract employee safety?

Many companies in New York prefer to hire temporary and contract employees to save their business money. However, these employees are more likely to experience a workplace injury accident, as they are not as familiar with their worksites and are not properly trained. If a non-permanent employee or contract employee gets injured on the job, who is responsible?

Some employers mistakenly believe that they are not responsible for these employees just because they are not technically employed by the company. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has discovered that many employers do not care about the safety and health of employees who are not directly employed by the employer. However, both the staffing company and the employer are responsible for the safety of contractors and other temporary employees. Staffing companies must provide the employees with general safety training, while employers are supposed to offer more job-specific safety training.

When it comes to worker's compensation, the staffing company is typically responsible for a contract worker's injuries. However, the host employer may be liable if the staffing company or other company does not have insurance coverage. Also keep in mind that employers must provide workers' compensation to their injured workers, even if a contractor created the hazard that caused their injury.

Employers should make sure to provide specific training for both their permanent and contracted employees and make sure that they create a safe work environment. Companies may also benefit by implementing a contractor management program to make sure that all employees, including contractors, are safe while on-the-job. Both host employers and staffing agencies have a responsibility to protect their contracted and temporary employees.

Source: Business Insurance, "Contract worker safety conundrum," Joyce Famakinwa, Oct. 2, 2017

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