AIHce Takes on Temporary Employees

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The American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Exposition (AIHce) was held this week in Salt Lake City, Utah. Jordan Barab, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, joined David Weil, PhD and Administrator for the Wage and Hour Division of the USDOL to discuss the fissuring of the workplace. The Occupational Health & Safety blog explained, “The fissuring of the workplace refers to the shedding of activities by a business in order to focus on core competencies. This shedding often leads to layoffs and the hiring of temporary workers. While temporary workers offer a sound solution across a lot of different industries, they are also typically hired to do some of the most dangerous jobs available. This gets at the core of the idea of fissuring in the workplace: when a temporary worker is injured on the job, who is ultimately responsible? In covering this topic, Barab used cell tower construction as an example. If a worker dies on top of an AT&T cell tower, it would be easy to assume AT&T is responsible. This is rarely the case however, as they typically hire a sub-contractor to handle the hiring of these workers.” AT&T creates a fissure with their employees by shedding the hiring process. The blog continued to note, “Even when this happens, Barab emphasized that you can apply pressure at the top level of an organization by collaborating and meeting with them. For example, members of OSHA were unavailable for the conversation due to international meetings in Korea with an automobile manufacturer. Weil took this a step further in saying that companies can’t have it both ways; meaning they can’t oversee aspects of a business that they shed but also ignore the employment process.”

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