This week the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent out a directive to its field offices about conducting tighter inspections of worksites where temporary workers are employed, citing recent fatalities and lack of safety training for temporary personnel.

The memo read, in part:

Given the number of temporary workers and the recent high profile fatal incidents, the agency is making a concerted effort using enforcement, outreach and training to assure that temporary workers are protected from workplace hazards. OSHA has previously addressed issues affecting temporary workers and leased employees in several letters of interpretation and directives, and has issued citations regarding lack of protection to such workers, most recently citing Bacardi Bottling Corporation following the death of a 21-year-old temporary worker on his first day on the job.

The memorandum defines a temporary worker as anyone who is paid by a temporary staffing agency, whether in a permanent or temporary job. The directive orders compliance officers, during inspections, to record the name and location of the workers' temporary agency and also to note "the extent to which the temporary workers are being supervised on a day-to-day basis either by the host employer or the staffing agency."

In the past year there have been temporary worker fatalities at a South Carolina paper mill, a New York construction site, and the Bacardi bottling plant in Florida. Only Bacardi was cited and fined and placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP).