OSHA clarifies duties of employers and staffing agencies to record injuries and illnesses [US]

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a letter dated October 19th, 2015, clarifying that an  employer must record a work-related injury or illness when an employee is supervised by a host employer and a staffing agency.

Lack of control, OSHA found

In the scenario detailed in the letter, OSHA found that the staffing agency did not exert sufficient control over the employees to enforce the recording of any injuries or illnesses. The agency’s duties were confined to human resource activities that did not constitute day-to-day supervision.

On the other hand, the host employer that assigned employees’ daily tasks could not contract away the obligation to record an injury or illness to a staffing agency.

Daily records

The employer writing the letter believed that the staffing agency should also provide onsite supervision at all times.

Under OSHA’s record-keeping regulation 29 CFR 1904.31(a), employers must record injuries and illnesses of employees they supervise on a day-to-day basis, even if these workers are not on the employer’s payroll. The host employer and staffing agency must also work together to ensure that a recordable incident is only recorded once.

Red-on-line EHS Legalist


OSHA, Standard interpretation, “Determining who is the responsible party to record an injury or illness,” October 19, 2015

OSHA’s recordkeeping regulation 29 CFR 1904.31(a)

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