This case study provides an example of how labour hire providers can manage the complex issues arising when employees operate across many work sites.
A labour hire provider placed 20 drivers with a transport and logistics company (the labour hire workers). The labour hire workers’ duties are identical to those of the 40 drivers directly employed by the host company. Duties include the pick-up of goods from the company and various customer depots, and delivery of the goods across Victoria. Drivers can perform up to 30 pick-ups and deliveries each day.
Due to the transient nature of freight transport and logistics, the labour hire provider was finding it challenging to conduct occupational health and safety (OHS) assessments at every client workplace that drivers visit during the course of their employment.
The labour hire provider followed its normal procedure for assessing a host company's OHS systems. The procedure 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 workplaces, the labour hire provider sought information from the host company on:
injuries and incidents which have occurred over the last five 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 by the host employer
The labour hire provider’s placement officer conducted visits to a typical client workplace and three typical customer sites to confirm the accuracy and adequacy of information the host employer provided to the labour hire provider.
The labour hire provider also took steps to ensure the host employer communicated clearly with its customers that they had an obligation to provide drivers with a safe workplace while loading and unloading at their site.
Labour hire provider improvements
So far as is reasonably practicable, consult, cooperate and coordinate with the host employer to ensure the host is taking reasonable action to ensure the health and safety of drivers at client workplaces.
Determine standard safety practices to be applied where a host employer's workplace has not been visited, covering matters including traffic control, loading and unloading areas and communication and consultation arrangements.
Providing drivers with standard safety practices for common hazards. If premises 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 employer improvements
So far as is reasonably practicable, consult, cooperate and coordinate with the labour hire provider to ensure client workplaces are visited for OHS assessments prior to receiving a delivery.
Provide the labour hire provider with detailed information about the nature of the work to be carried out and any associated hazards and risk control measures.
Support labour hire provider requests to visit customer worksites, where practicable.
Provide labour hire workers with induction, training and information that 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.
Consult with employees on OHS matters or concerns as they arise.