A Publication of WTVP

To bring the issue of workplace safety into the spotlight, the National Safety Council designated June as National Safety Month back in 1996. This year, each week during National Safety Month focused on certain areas of safety, with the fourth week focused specifically on workplace safety. Naturally, workplace safety is an important year-round issue for most, if not all, businesses. In the staffing industry, workplace safety is an issue with huge ramifications.

As an employer, staffing firms are responsible for ensuring the safety of their employees and those who visit their premises. With such a wide variety of clients and locations to cover, responsibly accomplishing this can be a large undertaking for any staffing company. Add in the fact that staffing company employees are ever changing and rarely the same from one day to the next, and this task can become enormous.

This fact hasn’t been overlooked by the insurance industry. As we all know, just about all types of insurance involving a business has rapidly increased in cost in past years. Workers’ compensation insurance has followed suit, coming down hard on staffing firms, especially those that focus on high-risk jobs. The result has been that insurance costs, as in other industries, have forced the closure of many staffing businesses.

As insurance companies cast a weary eye towards the staffing industry, the industry itself was forced to look at itself in the mirror. The history of the staffing industry is fraught with examples of the “place anyone, anywhere, anytime, doing any and every job and ignore the risks” mentality. It was, and still is, generally a function of getting the sale at all costs. Though quite a few staffing companies with this philosophy have gone out of business because of it, many are still left.

That withstanding, the industry as a whole has put more emphasis on safety management. The staffing industry is no different from other industries in that it must weigh the risks it’s willing to take against the accompanying rewards. It’s a fact that many businesses are more than happy to convert their workers’ compensation risk to a staffing company rather than take it on themselves. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that. For them, it can make good business sense. But does it also make good business sense for the staffing company? More importantly, is it worth the risk? IBI