Those in Pennsylvania who work with, or are, temporary workers should be aware of two bulletins put out by OSHA as part of its Temporary Worker Initiative. These bulletins focus on how host employers and staffing agencies are to protect temp workers from excessive noise exposure and respiratory hazards while on the job. They back up previous OSHA regulations found in the Respiratory Protection Standard and Occupational Noise Standard.
Those standards require that employers carefully assess the hazards in their workplaces and determine if employees need personal protective equipment like respirators and hearing protection. If such equipment is required, the employer should provide it and not require the employee to pay for it. This rule goes for staffing agencies too.
Protection programs are to be set up when such equipment is necessary for workplace safety. Employers are also required to implement and preserve engineering, administrative and work practice controls. Staffing agencies are to remain familiar with hazards, inform workers of new risks and maintain regular communication with workers and employers alike.
When employees experience a certain level of noise exposure, OSHA requires employers to schedule them for an audiogram within six months. Employees do not pay for these audiograms, and they receive wages for the work hours they lose to exam time.
Employees who are injured through no fault of the employer can take advantage of the workers' compensation program and file for benefits. These benefits can cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. To help with the filing process, a worker may want to retain a lawyer. A workers' comp attorney can also mount appeals if a claim is denied.