Risk Management & Temp Workforces: What You Need to Know

A worker wearing safety gear in an industrial settingHaving a solid risk management plan is important for any industrial workplace and involves evaluating potential dangers, determining their financial impacts, and developing solutions to negate or minimize any negative consequences.

Managing risks with a permanent staff is one thing, but what considerations should be taken into account when bringing on temporary workforces — particularly when the stakes are so high?

Risk Management Basics

Let’s first review some risk management considerations and explain why they’re important:

Step 1: Determine the threats – Consider Murphy’s Law, which is the idea that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. What potential hazards are there at the worksite?

Step 2: Evaluate how certain threats make your critical assets vulnerable – Critical assets are anything that could drastically hinder your overall operations. This can include: manufacturing processes, company patents, financial data, workplace equipment, and more.

Step 3: Figure out the risks – Determine how likely any attack on your identified critical assets are and how bad any negative impacts might be.

Step 4: Develop a plan to reduce the risks – How can you avert disaster? What specific risk management processes and procedures can be put into place to protect against hazards? It’s important to emphasize regularly maintaining safety practices. To see how Strom can help with planning, see our Crisis Planning services page.

How does risk management relate to temp workforces?

The protection of workers – both temporary and permanent – is directly related to managing any risks. In other words, the more you can guard against risks, the safer your workforce will be. If you’re an organization considering bringing in temp workers, consider the following:

  •   Communicate with the temporary labor provider – , thorough communications ensure that proper safety standards are established so that they may be put into place before the workers arrive onsite. This is extremely important.
  •   Ensure that training has occurred – Under federal OSHA guidelines, temporary workers must receive the same training in terms of safety that permanent workers receive. Everyone must follow the same safety procedures, and while temp workers may not be on the site for as long, it’s important for them to be just as informed as any permanent staff.
  •   Make sure all employees handle your critical assets correctly Safeguarding and backing-up company patents, manufacturing processes, and controls/access points are highly important.While you may hope that every worker would be respectful of a company’s critical assets, in practice this is not always the case.

At the end of the day, both the host employer and the staffing agency have a dual responsibility to ensure that proper safety guidelines are being followed. The key here is to emphasize communication. If you are able to do this, averting disasters and maintaining proper risk management will be that much easier.

To learn how temporary staff can help your workplace, read our other post, Labor Dispute Preparation 101: How Temporary Staffing Can Help.

 

Adapting a Temp Workforce to Business-Specific Needs: What to Focus On

A woman in work gear positions a headset.In the event that a labor disruption occurs, utilizing a temporary workforce can help your business seamlessly transition and keep any drop in productivity to a minimum. Being able to draw from a database of workers with a variety of different skills, such as those provided by Strom, allows you to find people to fit your business’s specific productivity needs. However, when it comes to how to train temporary employees, there are a number of things you’ll want to keep in mind during the transition:

Make Sure Assistance is Readily Available – Before temp workers even arrive onsite for their regular shifts, ensure that you’ve deployed knowledgeable staff available to consult workers at each station. Utilizing a buddy system of sorts is worthwhile.  

Highlight Processes – Workplace processes that emphasize efficiency, particularly in the area of machine operation, should be followed to a T. In addition to basic process training, ensure that proper documentation is readily available in instances where workforce members need to refer to documented procedural guidelines for reference.

Make Sure Workers Are Correctly Equipped – Having the right equipment is a must, especially in manufacturing and industrial workspaces. This isn’t just limited to equipment that helps get the job done efficiently, but also safety equipment that protects workers from injury.

Protect Intellectual Property – As one of your business’s most important assets, intellectual property should be protected with the utmost sensitivity. Ensure that all loose ends are tied up by getting temp workers to sign agreements intended to protect any proprietary information.

Emphasize Protections Against Injury – Job sites, particularly those in manufacturing, can present safety challenges if workers don’t follow proper protocols, or if the job sites themselves aren’t up to compliance. Therefore, thoroughly helping temp workers understand safety nuances is absolutely critical. Companies such as Strom Engineering can help businesses mitigate safety concerns by providing onsite consultations, particularly during instances where regular workforces aren’t being utilized.

Pay Attention to Specific Certifications – Even when drawing from highly skilled databases of temp workers, there are certain operations that will require additional training through certifications. Such certifications are important to pay attention to, as they can help you meet and exceed industry compliance. Certifications may also range based on different geographic locations.

Make Temp Workers Feel Welcome – Even if they’re only temporary, temp workforces can play an integral role in supporting your organization, particularly during ramp-up periods. Thus, make sure to treat them with respect and compliment team members on a job well done when warranted.

In regards to temporary employees, training is up to both sides – the temp staffing agency and the host employer – to make the situation safe and beneficial for all involved. When everyone works together, productivity can be maintained and your company can transition seamlessly to move beyond the challenges presented by labor disruptions. To learn more about temporary workforces, read our other post, Labor Dispute Preparation 101: How Temporary Staffing Can Help