California Temporary Workers laws & safety compliance analysis

California Temporary Workers: What you need to know

Comparison: State vs Federal

Like federal OSHA, California considers temporary workers to be in a dual employment situation. Responsibility for temporary employees’ safety and health on the job is shared by both a primary and secondary employer. However, the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) specifies the particular responsibilities of primary and secondary employers in more detail than federal OSHA.

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California’s Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) administers and enforces the state workplace safety and health requirements for private and public (state and local government operations) sector workplaces.

State Requirements

The primary employer is either a staffing agency that hires temporary workers and sends them to work for a host employer or a professional employer organization (PEO) that puts a host employer’s employees on its own payroll. Primary employers typically perform payroll functions, cover temporary workers under their workers’ compensation insurance, and may have hiring and firing authority.

The secondary employer, also known as the host employer, contracts for the services of temporary workers and supervises temporary workers at the worksite.


Both the primary and secondary employer are responsible for ensuring that temporary workers are protected from workplace hazards and complying with Cal/OSHA regulations. In addition, both primary employers and secondary employers, like all employers in California, are required to have an effective injury and illness prevention plan (IIPP).

Cal/OSHA recommends that the primary employer and host employer create a contract that specifies a division of workplace safety and health roles; ...

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State Requirements

National | California | National |