HR Minute

Contracting with Staffing Companies

Posted In Staffing

Temporary Workers, Staffing Industry In today's business environment, the use of temporary workers is a given.  In fact, the staffing industry is projected to grow by 5-6% in 2014 according to Staffing Industry Analysts and in 2013, the American Staffing Association determined that temporary and contract staffing was a $109.2 billion dollar industry.  This growth is being propelled by the need of businesses to have flexibility in the number of workers that produce their goods and services. Given the reliance on temporary workers, companies who use such workers should consider who they contract with to provide their temporary staff and the contractual terms which they want to impose on their staffing partner.  First, selecting a staffing partner that is reputable and committed to legal compliance is critical.  Recent worksite deaths of temporary workers has caused the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA") and the National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health ("NIOSH") to issue "Recommended Practices" that staffing companies and their clients should follow with regard to safety practices and training.  ttps://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3735.pdf

These guidelines make it clear that with regard to safety in the workplace, both the staffing company and the client bear responsibility.  Therefore, it is more important than ever before that your staffing partner is the type that considers legal compliance, including compliance with workplace safety laws, as a priority. Second, staffing companies should be considered business partners and not insurance companies.  Often, companies using temporary staff will insist that the staffing company accept responsibility for all risks that might arise as a result of temporary workers from that staffing company being on-site, even if the risks having nothing to do with the services that the staffing company provides and even if the risks arise from the acts or omissions of the staffing client's employees.  In such situations, the client company is transferring its normal business risks to the staffing company.  As recognized by OSHA and NIOSH, such risk transfers may not be successful and contractual provisions that attempt to broadly transfer risk may give staffing firm clients a false sense of security.  Rather than attempting to transfer normal business risk from your business to your staffing provider, the better approach is for both companies to focus on legal compliance, ensuring a safe workplace and treating all workers appropriately.

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