When businesses encounter busy seasons or need temporary help while employees are out for illnesses or maternity leave, they often hire workers from temp agencies. This can be a very effective way to handle a fluctuating work force. The permanent employees don't have to work overtime, and the manager doesn't have to go through the arduous process of hiring a new employee when the position may not last long.
But who is responsible for ensuring temporary workers are properly trained for the jobs they are being hired to do, and that they have been properly briefed on all applicable Occupational Health and Safety Act requirements? To believe it is the sole responsibility of the temp agency can be a big, and expensive, mistake, as a recent case brings to light.
The case in point concerns a waste management firm that hired a temp worker through a temporary staffing agency to perform garbage collection services. While performing his work, the temp exited the garbage collection truck prematurely and the truck ran over his foot, causing injury. While the waste management firm had safety policies and procedures in place, the Ministry of Labour convicted the firm for failing to train the temporary worker on those procedures of theirs. The conviction was followed by a $150,000 fine and a 25-per-cent victim surcharge, sending a warning to employers about the importance of training temps.
Who is Responsible for Training Temporary Staff?
Under Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers are required to protect workers in the workplace. This includes not only an employer's own workers but also temporary, contract, or other on-site workers. Temporary personnel agencies often advertise that they'll train workers ahead of time so they can show up at your business ready to work. This is especially appealing to employers who are very busy and don't have time to train and re-train temps each time a new person arrives. But the message is clear - even if temps are offered training through their temp agencies, companies are still responsible to ensure that they're properly trained once they arrive on site for their work shifts.
What's the Solution?
Partnering with a temp agency that is committed to health and safety and understands the intricacies of government compliance will help to mitigate your companies risk when engaging in this type of workforce. Temp Agencies who partner with The Staffing Edge have this type of expert support giving their clients peace of mind that proper processes and procedures are in place.
But as the worksite you need to ensure your own due diligence as well.
If you don't have the time or legal expertise to put together comprehensive training programs for your business, you can outsource employee training and development to a human resources management company like The Payroll Edge. By partnering with an outsourced human resources management company, you can soon have a training program that covers health and safety fundamentals, emergency preparedness, workplace violence and harassment, provisions for AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act), workplace inspections, and hazard identification. In addition, your business can have customized OHSP manuals and policies, which keep your business up-to-date with all the most recent legislative changes and training requirements. Comprehensive on-going training for both your permanent and temporary staff not only elevates the work environment, it can protect your business from fines and legal action.