The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced a special initiative to protect temporary employees from workplace hazards.

In a memo to regional administrators, OSHA is directing field inspectors to step up efforts to assess whether employers who use temporary workers are complying with their responsibilities under the OSH Act. Inspectors will use newly created codes in their information systems to denote whether temps are exposed to safety and health violations and whether they have received required training in a language and vocabulary they understand.

OSHA is also working with the American Staffing Association and employers that use staffing agencies to promote best practices ensuring that temporary workers are protected from job hazards.

In recent months, OSHA has received a series of reports about temporary workers suffering fatal injuries: many during their first days on the job. Workers must be safe, says the agency, whether they've been on the job for one day or for 25 years.

The memorandum follows on the heels of new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics about the number of workers killed on the job in 2011. Fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for 542: or 12%: of the 4,693 fatal work injuries, while Hispanic/Latino contractors accounted for 28% of fatal work injuries among contractors.

Full memorandum