Temporary Workers Gain More Protection: Occupational Health Watch- CA Dept Public Health
Temporary Workers Gain More Protection
Two California laborers, 16- and 22-year-old brothers from Mexico, died while cleaning the confined-space drainage system of an organic waste recycling facility. Both were exposed to excessive levels of hydrogen sulfide inside a 10-foot shaft. (Read full investigation report.)
The older brother, who died trying to rescue his younger brother from the bottom of the shaft, worked for a temporary employment agency that provided workers for the employer.
Subcontractors and temporary workers like this victim, who are often new to their workplace, gained more legal protection this month when California Governor Jerry Brown signed a groundbreaking worker protection bill, AB 1897, into law. The law holds the state's employers legally responsible for wage and safety violations committed by their subcontractors and temporary agencies.
The new law follows on the heels of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Temporary Worker Initiative, launched last year. It includes outreach, training, and enforcement to ensure that temporary workers are protected in their workplaces.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and OSHA also jointly released a publication on recommended practices to protect temporary workers.