NIOSH and Partners Announce a New Resource to Protect Temporary Workers

July 25, 2022
The future of work brings new challenges to occupational safety and health, including how to best protect and promote the well-being of all temporary workers, including those in higher hazard industries. Temporary workers are those who are paid by a staffing company and assigned to work for a host employer company, including both short- and long-term assignments. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), along with several partners, has recently released a set of new best practices to better protect temporary workers on the job.
The new document, Protecting Temporary Workers: Best Practices for Host Employers, builds on resources developed under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Temporary Worker Initiative, launched in 2013, by providing host employers with detailed best practices organized into three areas:
  • How to evaluate and address workplace safety and health in a written contract
  • Training for temporary workers and their worksite supervisors
  • Injury and illness reporting, response, and recordkeeping
Unsafe working conditions, unclear job assignments, inadequate training, and poor hazard communication put all workers, both temporary and permanent, at risk for injury and illness on the job. The best practices in this new resource are applicable across industries and occupations.
The document also includes real-life scenarios of how host employers might implement these best practices, as well as checklists that can be printed or completed electronically. Additionally, staffing companies can access a complementary slide deck to educate their host employer clients about these best practices.
“Amidst a pandemic, the importance of keeping workers safe and healthy has never been more important,” said NIOSH Director John Howard. M.D. “By following these best practices, host employers can do their part to optimize the safety and health of their workers, both permanent and temporary.”
NIOSH, the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Services Sector Council, the American Society of Safety Professionals, the American Staffing Association, and the Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention program out of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries worked together to produce the document. Host employers, staffing companies, and worker organizations also provided diverse input.
For more information: The NORA Services Sector Council is hosting a release webinar on August 30, 11:00am – 12:00pm ET to provide an overview of the best practices contained within this new document. Please register here.
NIOSH is the federal institute that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Find more information about NIOSH at
PFAS Added to Toxics Release Inventory Only Account for a Fraction in Use
On July 19, the EPA published a final rule that updated the Toxics Release Inventory, otherwise known as the TRI, while adding four additional PFAS to the list. When EPA added these PFAS to the TRI, they did so in a manner that allows polluters to exploit regulatory exemptions to the TRI’s reporting requirement — the de minimis concentration and alternate threshold exemptions — so polluters may not have to report their PFAS. The final rule published recently marks the third time that EPA has added PFAS to the TRI in an illegal manner that fails to give communities the full disclosure that they deserve and are entitled to by law.
The TRI is a publicly available database that contains information about the manufacture, use, disposal, and release of listed chemicals and is based on reports filed by industrial and federal facilities. With this addition, there are now 180 PFAS listed on the TRI, a fraction of the nearly one thousand PFAS approved for manufacture and use in the United States. “PFAS,” which stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of dangerous chemicals that can persist in human bodies and in the environment for decades. Studies show PFAS are linked to cancer, immune system dysfunction, liver and kidney damage. More than 95% of the U.S. population has PFAS in their bodies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One of the newly-listed substances is PFBS, a very commonly-used PFAS that has been identified in the environment and consumer products, including surface water, wastewater, drinking water, dust, floor wax, carpeting, and carpet cleaners.
On behalf of the National PFAS Contamination Coalition, Sierra Club, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, Earthjustice sued EPA in January 2022 over the first two rules. EPA themselves admitted that these exemptions “significantly limited the amount of data that EPA received for [TRI-listed PFAS] in the first year of reporting” in their PFAS Road Map published last fall .The agency also claimed that they would be developing a rule to eliminate the exemptions. However, the PFAS Roadmap indicated that the proposed rule would be published in Spring 2022, and this has not yet happened.
Eve Gartner, Earthjustice managing attorney for Toxic Exposure and Health, and lead counsel for the groups suing EPA over the first two TRI rules, issued the following statement:
“Families across the country have a right to know if a nearby chemical plant or a military base is dumping PFAS in the air or water. PFAS are extremely toxic and are linked to cancer, reduced immune effects, and a host of other serious health problems. Yet EPA continues to allow secrecy loopholes to protect polluters. Frankly, I am shocked that the EPA is once again adopting a rule with the same polluter-friendly provisions we first saw in the Trump administration and despite admitting that the loopholes are significantly reducing the information that communities are getting about their exposure to this class of extremely toxic and persistent chemicals.”
Washington Contractor Fined $101,000 for Water Quality Violations
Rotschy, Inc. will pay $101,000 to the Washington Department of Ecology under an agreement to settle an appeal of a larger penalty for nine water quality violations.
Ecology fined the company $131,000 in March 2022 for violations between October 2021 and January 2022. The company released sediment and dirty construction stormwater into wetlands and Packard Creek. It also failed to adequately stabilize soils on the construction site, leading to erosion that released muddy construction stormwater offsite.
In the settlement, Ecology and Rotschy, Inc. agreed to the reduced penalty. Ecology will retain the right to pursue future enforcement actions if additional violations occur. If the penalty is not paid within 30 days, the entire $131,000 penalty will become immediately due, and the company will forfeit its right to appeal.
Stormwater runoff from construction sites can carry muddy water, debris, and chemicals into local waterways, which is why contractors like Rotschy, Inc. are required to follow the terms of a statewide Construction Stormwater General Permit. Once released, these sediments, chemicals, and debris can harm aquatic life and reduce water quality.
Water quality penalty payments to Ecology are placed into the state’s Coastal Protection Fund, which provides grants to public agencies and Tribes for water quality restoration projects.
Spring Grove Glass Companies Earn ‘Star’ Level Designation for Exemplary Workplace Safety, Health Programs
Cardinal Automation Group and Cardinal Insulated Glass of Wisconsin have earned recognition for their initiative-taking safety and health programs leading to designation as Star Level VPP sites. The Spring Grove companies – employing about 560 workers – are divisions of Cardinal Glass Industries in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
Cardinal Automation Group produces custom manufacturing equipment for use at various Cardinal Glass Industries’ locations. The company produces monolithic tempered glass panels and assembles insulated glass units.
“Both of these Cardinal Glass Industries’ divisions embed a culture of safety in which all employees voluntarily participate on safety teams, attend training alongside their management team and provide peer review of work areas for safety issues. These sites encourage employee-driven safety solutions,” said OSHA Regional Administrator William Donovan in Chicago. “Star Level designation in the Voluntary Protection Program is the highest safety achievement a company can earn from OSHA. Cardinal’s commitment to safety and health management systems are excellent examples of the value of employee involvement, empowerment and ownership.”
OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs recognize and promote effective worksite-based safety and health management systems. In the VPP, management, labor, and OSHA establish cooperative relationships at workplaces that have implemented comprehensive safety and health management systems. Approval into VPP is OSHA's official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have created exemplary worksite safety and health management systems.
OSHA Recognizes Billings' Refinery Testing Team for Workplace Safety, Health Excellence with 'Star' Designation
OSHA has certified Team, Inc., which performs nondestructive testing at the Phillips 66 Refinery in Billings, MT, as a "Star" employer in the agency's Voluntary Protection Programs.
OSHA announced the Star designation as part of its initial program certification of Team, Inc. The designation recognizes employers and employees who demonstrate exemplary achievement in the prevention and control of occupational safety and health hazards as well as the development, implementation and continuous improvement of their safety and health management systems. 
The VPP is the highest level of OSHA recognition of employers and workers who have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintained injury and illness rates below the Bureau of Labor Statistics' industry averages.
Team, Inc. employs 22 people in Billings and 6,800 employees nationwide who test refinery piping and equipment to ensure mechanical integrity. With its Billings' designation, Team, Inc. now has five VPP sites.
"OSHA commends Team Inc.'s employees for their commitment to workplace safety and health, and for meeting the rigorous requirements of our Voluntary Protection Programs," said OSHA Regional Director Jennifer Rous in Denver. "By recognizing the significant hazards refineries present, Team Inc.'s efforts to achieve VPP Star designation demonstrate their dedication to the safety of their employees, their host site Phillips 66, and to the Billings community."
Free Amazon HD 10 Tablet with RCRA and DOT Training
Annual training is required by 40 CFR 262.17(a)(7).  Learn how to complete EPA’s new electronic hazardous waste manifest, and the more than 60 changes in EPA’s Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule.  Environmental Resource Center’s Hazardous Waste Training is available at nationwide locations, and via live webcasts.  If you plan to also attend DOT Hazardous Materials Training, call 800-537-2372 to find out how can get your course materials on an Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet at no extra charge.
News Links
Trivia Question of the Week