Is it possible to promote safety culture with temporary workers?

Q:

We have a safety program in place to promote safety culture among our workers, but it's aimed at our permanent staff. Is there a way to promote safety culture with our temporary workers?

A:

Creating a strong culture of safety among your permanent staff is important, but it’s equally as important with temporary or contract workers – and entirely possible.

We know it seems like a daunting task. The American Staffing Organization estimates that staffing agencies employ more than 3 million temporary or contract employees in any given week (read Transient Workers vs Temporary Workers: Know Your Training Obligations). With this type of work accounting for an increasingly larger share of the U.S. workforce, employers should be particularly concerned about the fact that temporary workers tend to face higher risks while on the job .

So, let’s get down to it. Here are 3 key things to do to promote safety culture with your temps.

1. Assign an Onboarding Ambassador

Since temporary workers often come from numerous staffing agencies, it can be difficult to coordinate and fully integrate them into the existing safety culture. Having an onboarding ambassador streamlines training and safety messaging and gives temporary workers a mentor that can connect them to existing workers.

2. Establish Trust With Temporary Employees

Safety culture can only thrive when employees (even temporary ones) feel respected and valued. Approach all employees the same way when it comes to safety processes. This will help ensure that temporary workers feel like a part of the team. Actively soliciting and being open to their feedback will further help strengthen the relationship (read more in Workers Unite! Behavior-Based Safety Vs. Creating a Safety Culture).

3. Engage with Your Staffing Partners

Problems can arise when temporary workers are told one thing by agencies and another when they arrive at work. Or worse yet, they’re not told anything at all by the staffing agency.

Work with your staffing partner to develop a pre-screening procedure based on your requirements and ensure that hired workers receive general information about OSHA training, safety instruction, PPE requirements, and company dress codes.

Final Words

Workers don’t have to be a permanent addition to your company to be included in the safety culture. As a business owner, you’re ultimately responsible for the safety of your workers – all of them. By taking steps to promote safety culture among temporary workers, you’re effectively mitigating the risk of tragic and costly accidents.

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Written by Jessica Barrett
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Jessica is a freelance writer, editor, and communications consultant. After starting her career in the travel industry, she branched out on her own in 2016 and hasn't looked back since. Jessica is a regular contributor to several websites and works with numerous small businesses and NGOs around the world to craft content for both online and offline platforms. When she isn't writing, you might find her practicing yoga or adventuring (aka eating) her way through a new country.

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