It is important for persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) to understand that the same health and safety duties apply to labour hire workers as they do to any ongoing workers.
Labour hire agencies also have health and safety duties to the worker that cannot be contracted out or transferred to another party by using labour hire arrangements.
Before an employer engages labour hire workers, they should provide the labour hire agency with detailed information about the nature of work to be carried out including:
- the work environment
- any plant or equipment to be used
- organisational and work health and safety arrangements
- health and safety risks associated with the work
- any skills and knowledge required to safely undertake the work required.
Employers should also verify that the selected worker/s have any necessary qualifications, licences, skills and training to carry out the work safely. Employers can check the validity of workers high risk work licenses (eg to operate a forklift or elevated work platform) by using our high risk work validation.
Host employers should also consult with the labour hire agency on work health and safety matters such as:
- who will provide any necessary equipment such as personal protective equipment and the standards it must meet
- general health and safety information about the work, workplace and work environment provided to the worker/s
- eliminating, or if that is not reasonably practicable, minimising risks in the workplace
- establishing open communication and consultation methods with the labour hire agency and the labour hire worker/s in relation to health and safety matters.
Labour hire workers should be treated as you would treat any worker by:
- inducting them to the worksite
- outline work health and safety duties, policies, procedures and practices in the workplace including consultation methods and emergency procedures
- provide a safe working environment and the necessary personal protective equipment
- provide adequate training on how to operate your specific plant and equipment
- provide adequate supervision of workers to ensure that work is being performed safely and your instructions are being followed
- consult with the labour hire agency and worker regarding any changes which may affect work health and safety. This includes transferring workers to new tasks or changing the nature of their work
- provide any further training, instruction or information necessary prior to transferring a labour hire worker to new tasks
- encourage labour hire workers to participate in identifying hazards specific to their work
- support and encourage labour hire workers to participate in workplace consultation
- allow the labour hire agency access to the workplace and to relevant documents for the purpose of workplace safety assessments and to fulfil their work health and safety duties
- encourage workers to maintain contact with the labour hire agency during their placement.
Workers also have health and safety duties. They are required to take reasonable care of themselves and not do anything that would affect the health and safety of others.
Workers must follow any reasonable health and safety instructions from the employer or labour hire agency. It is important that workers:
- ask if they are not sure how to safely perform the work
- follow instructions and work safely
- stop any unsafe work immediately and advise their supervisor straight away
- report any injuries or near misses immediately to their supervisor.