A Publication of WTVP

For the last 30 years, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the 21 states that operate their own safety and health programs under federal OSHA supervision have used the same recordkeeping rule.

Basically, this rule required employers to keep a log of work-related injuries and illnesses for employees the employer supervised on a day-to-day basis.

In 1986, OSHA published the recordkeeping standard Blue Book and has since published many letters of interpretation to guide employers in lawful recordkeeping. All of that changed when OSHA’s new recordkeeping standard became effective January 1.

There are two major points of information that affect staffing firms under the new rules.

As under the old rule, staffing firms do not need to keep the injuries of assigned employees on the OSHA log. One exception to this is when the staffing firm supervises the assigned employee on a day-to-day basis.

Day-to-day supervision is defined as supervising the output, product, and result of the work, as well as the details, means, methods, and processes by which the work is accomplished. An assigned employee working in a staffing firm’s field office would be an exception because his/her work is being supervised by the staffing firm’s staff.

A second exception is when a managed service arrangement involves the staffing firm supervising the assigned employees. In this case, the staffing firm is responsible for keeping their work-related injuries and illnesses on the OSHA log. Nevertheless, staffing firms’ on-site coordinators generally do not supervise assigned employees under OSHA’s definition.

Usually, company supervisors supervise the details, means, methods and processes by which the work objective is accomplished by the temporary workers. Although persistent or serious production problems and disciplinary problems are referred to the temporary agency supervisor, the company supervisor normally provides the detailed day-to-day supervision of the employees.

Another major difference for the staffing industry between the old and new rules is for the first time staffing providers are required by law to keep an OSHA log of work-related injuries and illnesses for their staff employees. Each staffing firm legal entity must have an OSHA log for each physical location where staffing firm staff employees do their work. On-site coordinators and staff who travel a great deal must be "tied" to a particular physical location for recordkeeping purposes.

Up until January 1 staffing firms did not truly have an OSHA incidence rate by law, except, possibly, at managed service accounts. After January 1, these rates should be established for all staffing firms’ companywide safety record. This rate can be compared with other staffing firms, etc. (even though staffing service OSHA rates are calculated only on those employees supervised according to the definition in No. 1 above).

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