On April 14, 2021, Washington governor Jay Inslee signed into law Substitute House Bill (SHB) 1206, creating new requirements for staffing agencies and worksite employers utilizing temporary employees to provide training on workplace safety and health hazards. Under the new law, worksite employers must notify staffing agencies about the anticipated job hazards temporary employees will likely encounter, and provide specific training to temporary employees on those hazards. Staffing agencies must separately assess the worksite safety conditions and provide their own general safety training to their employees on the anticipated workplace hazards. Specifically, under the new law, staffing agencies must do the following.
Worksite employers must complete the following tasks set forth in the new law.
Under the new law, if a temporary employee’s job tasks or work locations change such that the employee may encounter new worksite hazards, the worksite employer must inform the staffing agency and the employee of “job hazards not previously covered before the employee undertakes the new tasks and update personal protective equipment and training for the new job tasks, if necessary.” The law permits “the staffing agency or [the] employee [to] refuse a new job task at the worksite when the task has not been reviewed or if the employee has not had appropriate training to do the new task.”
If the staffing agency learns of existing job hazards that have not been mitigated by the worksite employer, the agency must inform the worksite employer, “urge the worksite employer to correct [them],” and document these efforts; if the worksite employer does not take corrective measures, the staffing agency must remove its employees from the worksite.
The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries proposed the new law in response to a 2017 study by the department’s Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) program that showed that temporary employees were about twice as likely as permanent employees to be seriously injured on the job.
SHB 1206, which will be codified in Chapter 49.17 of the Revised Code of Washington, goes into effect on July 25, 2021.