As a responsible employer, safety is your number one concern. You provide all the right personal protective equipment, and otherwise take great strides to shield your team from worksite hazards, because you want everyone to end their shift happy and healthy.

Despite your best efforts, sometimes there’s a bit of a gray area when it comes to PPE for contract employees. Since they’re working for your company, but are employed by a staffing firm, it can be hard to know who is responsible for providing their PPE.

Here’s an overview to help you get a better understanding of PPE guidelines put in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Role of the Host Employer

Host employers are responsible for providing adequate PPE for temporary workers and maintaining it properly, when required by OSHA or employer standards. Satisfactory maintenance consists of cleaning and decontaminating PPE, and sanitizing any PPE shared among workers.

The host employer is typically responsible for choosing, providing and ensuring temporary workers use PPE appropriate for the task at hand. OSHA gives three reasons to support this decision, including:

  • Deeper familiarity with the workplace hazards.
  • Ability to control any onsite hazards and the workers’ activities surrounding them.
  • Generally better equipped to perform the appropriate hazard assessment to decide whether PPE is needed, as an evaluation would’ve been probably already been completed for permanent staffers.

Role of the Recruitment Firm

When it comes to ensuring temporary workers are provided with proper PPE, the staffing agency certainly isn’t without responsibility. OSHA requires recruiters to take reasonable steps to make sure the host employer has conducted a thorough hazard assessment and subsequently provided the right PPE.

Consequently, the staffing professional(s) needs to get acquainted with worksite hazards and open the lines of communication between temporary workers and host employers. Staying in contact allows the firm to be in the know on any continual or new hazards that might require additional attention.

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