Many Maryland employers rely on temporary workers to fill important roles during employee vacations, family leave periods, and seasons of heavy activity. However, workplace injuries involving these temporary employees can be confusing due to the fact that both the employer and the temporary agency are involved with an individual's work activities. OSHA has provided recent clarification on the issue to assist those responsible for reporting injuries and recording details.
According to OSHA, only one employer can be responsible for the daily supervision of a worker. This means that a temporary worker cannot be supervised by both parties for reporting purposes. Reporting depends on the involvement of the contractor in the daily supervision of an employee. In cases involving a contractor's oversight of day-to-day activities of an employee, the contractor bears reporting responsibility for any workplace injuries or illnesses. If the host employer supervises the employee, then that party is responsible for any necessary reporting. OSHA has further clarified that administrative tasks such as handling vacation needs, drug screening, and other human resources activities do not constitute supervision.
An individual who is injured while working in a temporary role might face some confusion in reporting an injury, especially if this information must be provided at a medical facility or on an accident report. Ideally, a temporary agency should educate its workers about this issue so that they are aware or reporting policies. However, a worker could encounter a situation in which neither the employer nor the contractor accept responsibility for reporting the injury.
If an issue arises in which there is a conflict between a contractor agency and an employer over a temporary employee's work-related accident, the injured party might seek legal advice about the situation. Workers' compensation benefits should be available to cover medical expenses, but a lawyer might be helpful for ensuring that the correct party takes responsibility for reporting the accident to their provider for these benefits.