From lease hand to driller to rig manager, the oil field career ladder appeals to recent high school graduates and people with advanced college degrees alike. But not all the work happening on a job site is directly related to getting oil out of the ground.
Electricians, plumbers and welders are just a few professions that support oilfield activity. Many employers bring these workers on as temps or contractors. If you are one of them, make sure you stress the importance of workplace safety.
So what’s driving the trend in temporary worker injuries?
Because they are new to the job site, temps might be unfamiliar with its hazards. Furthermore, they might not be trained to avoid those hazards, and they might not share your commitment to preventing workplace accidents.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched an initiative to protect temporary workers. As part of the initiative, OSHA instructed its inspectors to assess whether employers who use temps are complying with their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Inspectors are also evaluating whether temporary workers received necessary safety training.
Employers can do their part to protect temporary workers by following these OSHA best practices:
- Staffing agencies and host employers should remember that OSHA’s General Duty Clause guarantees everyone, including temporary workers, the right to a safe workplace.
- Staffing agencies and host employers share the responsibility for keeping temporary workers safe. Typically, staffing agencies provide general safety training, and host employers provide job-specific training.
- Staffing agencies and host employers should enter a contract. The contract should specify such things as which tasks temporary workers will do, what training they will receive, and who will provide training and personal protective equipment.
- Host employers should never ask temporary workers to do any task they have not been trained to do safely.
- The supervising employer must set up a process for temporary workers to report work-related injuries and illnesses.
- OSHA requires the employer who provides day-to-day supervision to record temporary worker injuries on their OSHA injury and illness log. Day-to-day supervision should be spelled out in the contract.
- Staffing agencies and host employers should jointly investigate accidents, determine root causes and implement corrective measures.
For more information on temporary workers, visit the American Staffing Association and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.