As the hirer, you are responsible for the health and safety of agency employees and contract workers whilst they are working on your premises or using equipment, materials and substances provided by you. In reality, agency workers are likely to be at greater risk in your premises because they are unfamiliar with your systems of work and the inherent hazards and risks. So what should you do to protect them?
Keep Agency Staff Safe with these Top Tips
- Ensure your health and safety policy includes agency workers and states who will take responsibility for their health and safety. Agency workers should be given a copy of the policy and made aware of their own health and safety responsibilities.
- Your risk assessments should take agency workers into account and include any special problems they may face, e.g. where English is not their first language.
- Provide induction training for agency workers before they start work – it should include fire safety, first aid, emergency procedures, reporting accidents and near misses. Ensure you give them information regarding risk assessments and control measures before they start work.
- Agency workers must not use machinery and equipment without being shown the correct operating methods. The same applies to the use of chemicals and substances.
- Before carrying out manual handling tasks, workers should be provided with instruction on safe methods of handling, and if they are going to be using a computer, remember that agency workers all come within the scope of the Display Screen Equipment Regulations if they fulfil the definition of user or operator.
- If you need to carry out health checks on employees, e.g. for hazardous substances, as best practice, you could include agency workers. Co-ordinate your arrangements with the agency so that everyone is clear about who will provide what.
- Make sure there is a clear agreement between you and the agency on who will supply personal protective equipment (PPE) to the worker. It must be supplied free of charge and the worker should be trained on how to use it.
The recent trend of the courts has been to increase the range of circumstances in which employers are held liable for the health and safety of agency staff. Don’t forget to include them in your health and safety arrangements.
Contact us should you require assistance.