Washington governor Jay Inslee has signed a new bill that requires staffing agencies and host employers in manufacturing and construction to coordinate their safety training for temporary workers. The new law, SHB 1206, takes effect July 25, 2021, and applies to temporary workers assigned to industries in sectors 31 through 33 (manufacturing) and 23 (construction) of the North American industry classification system (NAICS). If your organization is covered by these NAICS codes and you obtain temporary workers through a staffing agency, these are the steps you’ll need to take before they begin working for you:
Document anticipated job hazards that the worker will likely encounter and inform the staffing agency of the hazards;
Review the staffing agency’s general safety and health awareness training to verify whether it addresses hazards for your industry;
Provide specific safety training tailored to the particular hazards at your workplace; and
Document the site-specific training and send confirmation within three business days of the training to the staffing agency. You must also retain a record of the training.
If you change the temporary worker’s job tasks or work location, causing them to possibly encounter new hazards, you must notify both the staffing agency and the worker. Before the employee begins performing the new tasks, you must inform the staffing agency and the worker of the new job hazards and you must update the personal protective equipment and training for the new job tasks, if necessary. The staffing agency and temporary worker may refuse a new job task at your worksite if you haven’t reviewed the task or provided appropriate training.
You must allow the staffing agency to visit the worksite where their employees will be assigned (or are currently working), so the agency can observe and confirm your training and information related to the job tasks, safety and health practices, and hazards there. The new law also forbids retaliation against temporary employees who report safety concerns.
Tips: You should already be providing site-specific safety training to workers supplied by staffing agencies. This new law aims to ensure that host employers and the staffing agencies they use do a better job coordinating their training efforts. New hires and temporary workers are much more likely to be injured on the job than are experienced workers, so this is an area where improved safety training could make a big difference in reducing injuries to employees who aren’t yet familiar with how to avoid the hazards in their work environment. If you need help reviewing the site-specific safety training for your workplace or the general training documentation from a staffing agency, contact your Vigilant safety professional. We’ll let members know if Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) publishes regulations or guidance on this new law.