There have been a number of very serious injuries that have impacted workers employed under labour hire arrangements*. This has prompted WorkSafe in Western Australia to commence a new industry-wide inspection of the workplace health and safety status of workers as well as on the obligations of labour hire agents across all different regions of WA. Upon inspecting a WA workplace for any reason, the inspector will question the employer about whether any workers are being hosted under labour hire arrangements. Such arrangements include both contract/on-hire firms and any host firms. If the answer is yes, the inspectors will consider a broad range of issues via a checklist, including:
- hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control;
- reporting of injuries and investigation of injuries and reported hazards;
- consultation with labour hire workers and with the labour hire agent;
- personal protective clothing and equipment; and
- providing a safe working environment for labour hire workers.
- They will also specifically examine the training methods and supervision of on-hire workers. Though the program is aimed at raising awareness of workplace health and safety obligations (WHS). WA WorkSafe Commissioner Lex McCulloch has warned that â€œinspectors will take enforcement action if they find breaches of the laws". He asserts that the labour hire industry was informed, in writing, about the program, so "they should be aware of exactly what the inspectors will require". The program will run until the end of the financial year. It is possible that other states will monitor the outcomes of this exercise with a view to implementing their own inspections. Responsibility for WHS for on-hire workers is shared between the recruitment agency and the host employer. There is a range of seminars, webinars, and information on WHS through recruitment associations. If you have any questions about WHS and, in particular, its application to on-hire workers, contact either the RCSA or ITCRA, or contact us and we should be able to guide you to a reliable adviser. *On-hire workers are typically outsourced blue-collar workers who are hired for short or long term positions.