Safety plan: How to protect temporary workers

Two construction workersSo, your safety plan is up to date, you conduct frequent, targeted training and your workers have bought into and contribute to your safety culture. What more is there to do?

Think about your temporary workers.

You may not hire them every year—especially during the downturn—but it’s likely you’ve either used them or will use them at some point. Even if they work for you every year during the busy season, they’ve probably missed out on some of the most important training you offer.

Sure, they sit in on toolbox talks, but you must ensure they’re just as protected as your full-time permanent employees. Even if you’ve hired them through a staffing service or placement agency that provides training, unless you work closely with the service on a regular basis, you won’t know if their training is correct or adequate for your jobsite.

Be on the safe side and start at square one. Here are some ways to bring your temporary workers up to speed:

Conduct a safety orientation

Your safety leader should walk them through your company’s safety program. At the end of the orientation, the temporary worker should know what is expected in terms of jobsite housekeeping, the correct use of personal protective equipment and accident response. Have the worker save important contacts in their cell phone including you, the crew leader, the safety manager and emergency services.

Have a training refresher

Anytime you have someone new join your workforce, don’t assume they know anything they need to know. Have a safety training series on hand that will cover a range of jobsite hazards, including OSHA’s Fatal Four—falls, caught-in or between, struck-by and electrocution. This training could be completed via a video or web-based tool if you don’t have classroom training available.

Drill down when necessary

A good safety program ensures all employees will receive training specific to the job at hand, such as focusing on shoring, sloping and shielding during trench work. If a temporary worker joins the crew after the training has already been completed, make sure your safety manager repeats the training—as well as a jobsite walk-through to locate potential hazards—with the worker prior to beginning work.

This article was originally written by Amy Materson, Managing Editor of Equipment World.