For many contract workers, the benefits of working temporary assignments are appealing. However, for some, occupational hazards are frequently encountered that put them at an added risk not experienced by permanent, full-time employees.

Still, there is good news on this front as a joint initiative created by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have created best practices for temporary agencies that help protect workers from dangerous conditions on job sites, according to a report from Masonry Construction.

"An employer's commitment to the safety of temporary workers should not mirror these workers' temporary status," Dr. David Michaels, OSHA's assistant secretary of labor told the website. "Whether temporary or permanent, all workers always have a right to a safe and healthy workplace. Staffing agencies and the host employers are joint employers of temporary workers and both are responsible for providing and maintaining safe working conditions."

The initiatives call for the development of clearly outlined job descriptions for contract workers, as well as defined safety responsibilities of both the staffing agency and their clients. Additionally, temporary workers are also required to report back to their employers to ensure that both initiatives are being met.

The move implemented by OSHA and the NIOS is significant as a report from Fast Company, citing data from U.S. Government Accountability Department, revealed that as much as 34 percent of the U.S. workforce, a number equivalent to 53 million people, are currently contract employees.

This is a trend that is expected to continue as time progresses. As a result, these individuals want to be assured that they have to ability to perform in an environment that is safe at all times and poses no threat to their immediate health or safety.

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