Freight and transport labour hire case study

This case study shows how recruitment agencies can manage the complex issues arising when employees operate across many work sites.

Date last updated

Saturday 29 Aug 2020

Industries and topics
  • Transport, logistics and warehousing
  • Health and safety representatives
  • Labour hire

Background

A labour hire agency placed 20 drivers (employees) with a transport and logistics company. The labour hire employee's duties, which are identical to those of the 40 drivers directly employed by the host company, include the pick-up of goods from the company and various customer depots, and delivery of these goods across Victoria. Drivers can perform up to 30 pick-ups and deliveries each day.

Issue

The transient nature of freight transport and logistics, which sees drivers attending dozens of worksites every day, makes it impossible for the agency to conduct OHS assessments at every place their drivers will visit in the course of their employment.

Next steps

The agency followed its normal procedure for assessing a host company's OHS systems, which focuses on assessing the work tasks and related hazards, training requirements, and arrangements for consultation and reporting.

To understand the workplace hazards that may be present at the different customer worksites, the agency sought information from the host company on:

  • injuries and incidents which have occurred over the last 5 years
    • typical hazards present at client depots, and customer pick-up and delivery points
      • common loading and unloading facilities at client and customer pick-up and delivery points
        • risk assessments conducted by the host company for client or customer pick-up and delivery points
          • safe work procedures currently implemented at the workplace.

            Outcome

            The agency placement officer conducted visits to both a typical client worksite and three typical customer sites to confirm the accuracy and adequacy of information provided to the agency by the host company.

            The agency also took steps to ensure the host employer communicated clearly with its customer that they had an obligation to provide drivers with a safe workplace while loading and unloading at their site.

            Agency improvements

            • Determine standard safety practices to be applied where a host's workplace has not been visited before, covering matters including traffic control, loading and unloading areas, and communication and consultation arrangements.
              • Standard safety practices for the driver about common hazards should be provided. If a premise cannot be safely accessed, it is essential that there are procedures in place for drivers to get further advice and directions. It is required that drivers have the ability to contact head office to report issues and seek further direction.

                Host improvements

                • Provide the agency with detailed information about the nature of the work to be carried out, and any associated hazards and risk control measures
                  • Support agency requests to visit customer worksites
                    • Provide induction, training, and information to all labour hire employees, which is equivalent to what is provided to directly-hired employees.
                      • Ensure all employees understand how they can raise health and safety issues at work, such as via their Health and Safety Representative.