Your on-hire worker is injured on site. Are you responsible?

By Tania Evans, Founder of WorkPro


You’ve done the hard work, found the right candidate for the job and they’ve started with a bang. The client is over the moon, and everything is chugging along smoothly.

Then, weeks later, there’s an even bigger bang. It’s on the worksite. The worker you placed is injured. They’re working at the host company site, so surely it’s their responsibility, right?


Not quite. If you’re a recruiter or on-hire labour firm that places workers with host companies, your work health and safety responsibilities are shared. Even when the worker has started on the job. And if there’s an incident involving your worker and the regulator discovers that you haven’t been meeting your WHS obligations, it could cost more than just a penalty or fine.


It could be reputational damage, your career, or your entire business.


Shared work health and safety responsibilities start long before your worker is placed, and don’t end until they have finished their contract or are no longer employed by your organisation. As an on-hire organisation, you’re not able to contract out of or transfer your share of the responsibilities to someone else.


Work health and safety non-compliance can hurt. But if you have the right processes and systems in place, you can make it simple to meet your duty of care and relax knowing your duty of care and work health and safety compliance is sorted.


Here’s what you need to think about to ensure your workforce compliance is covered with every on-hire worker that you place.


What is a shared WHS agreement?


Work health and safety in on-hire arrangements involve shared responsibilities between you as the on-hire organisation and your client as the host company. A shared WHS agreement should be created when this arrangement is made or a deal is struck to formalise the tasks.


Both parties must work together by consulting, co-operating and co-ordinating health and safety activities. They need to collaborate to ensure risks are eliminated or minimised.


Some of the items to look at are:

· Controlling Risks – identifying hazards and risks for the role, identifying control measures, and ensuring the physical environment adheres to work health and safety laws

· Carrying out work – consider safe work methods to carry out the work, supervision arrangements, competency and training, and ongoing assessment of the worker’s needs

· Responding to incidents – how will both organisations respond to incidents? What policies and procedures are required? Are there any other factors that will impact the work environment and tasks to be completed?


Before the on-hire worker starts work


Prior to the on-hire worker commencing on the host company’s site, more tasks need to be verified or completed. Here are some to consider:

· Deliver a work health and safety induction that meets current industry compliance, and addresses the hazards of the specific job

· Ensure work to be completed is clearly documented, including the work environment, tasks, hazards and risks, equipment, supervision, and skills required to perform the work

· Verify and manage the on-hire worker’s licences and accreditations that are needed for the role

· Discuss arrangements for health monitoring and vaccinations

· Ensure that all documentation about the work, workplace and work environment has been provided to the on-hire worker


During the on-hire worker’s placement


When the worker is on site, the host company has a range of responsibilities to keep the worker safe. After all, they are the ones supervising them on a daily basis and overseeing the work to be completed. However, as an on-hire organisation you still need to monitor the situation and check in regularly with both the worker and the host company.


Here are a few things to think about during the on-hire placement:

· Consulting with the host company regarding changes to work undertaken, work environment and equipment, and how this may affect work health and safety laws

· If required, visiting the host company for the purpose of workplace safety assessments

· Maintaining contact with the on-hire worker to ensure their needs are being met by the host company

· Ensure the host company is fulfilling their duties as part of the shared WHS agreement and notifying you of incidents as they occur


Administering work health and safety does not finish once your candidates are placed. Protecting worker health and wellbeing is a shared responsibility, and is a key element to meet your industry compliance requirements as an on-hire organisation.


Meeting all of your WHS requirements and industry obligations can sound complex, but it doesn’t have to be. We created the WorkPro platform to automate workforce compliance for recruiters, providing a specialised online tool to request, track and manage industry-standard eLearning, background checks and licences and accreditations.


For an exclusive free trial for RCSA members, contact us today or call +61 1300 975 776.

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