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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Grant helps boost safety training

Program focuses on temporary workers

Two Spokane organizations are using a $40,000 state grant to help ensure temporary workers get the same on-the-job safety training as regular staff members.

Washington state regulations require that workers placed by staffing agencies receive well-defined safety instructions both before they start a job and while working with a temporary employer.

Many owners of small businesses assume the staffing agency is responsible for safety training. But the obligation falls on both the staffing firm and the company paying for the worker, said Nancy Nelson, president of staffing company Humanix Corp.

The state grant pays for Humanix and Spokane-based Associated Industries to visit nearly 100 companies and provide information kits to help them beef up their safety training.

The program so far has mostly been used by manufacturing companies in the region, said Tiffany Steeley, Humanix’s safety and account manager. The kits provide templates to guide companies through required safety training.

“For small businesses, there’s no welcome wagon that says, ‘Here’s what you need for safety,’ ” Steeley said.

Many businesses don’t realize they’re required to identify an evacuation site, for example, so that if workers leave a building, managers can find out who’s been safely evacuated.

Nelson said many small companies also don’t realize they are required to have an accident-prevention plan, or in cases of 11 or more workers, a safety committee.

Both Associated Industries and Humanix have offered workplace-safety guidance for several years.

The joint program is focused on Spokane companies; Idaho workplace regulations don’t address temporary workers the way Washington’s do.

So far the program has visited 68 companies and can visit 30 more by the end of October, Nelson said. It’s not limited to companies using temporary workers, she noted.

Business representatives can contact either Associated Industries or Humanix to be added to the list.

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