The host employer
Find out how the host employer manages health and safety.
- If you think there is a risk of injury related to the role, talk to the host employer. Find out if there have been any issues or incidents before. If so, ask about the severity, number and type of injuries and, where possible, the time taken before injured employees return to work to perform their normal duties. Refer to the host employer’s record of workplace injuries if they have one. You should also ask what action has been taken to prevent further injury and whether WorkSafe was notified about any previous incidents when required.
- Ask for a copy of the employer performance rating from their premium notice to assess their occupational health and safety (OHS) performance against the industry they operate in.
- Identify whether the host employer is trying to give more dangerous work to labour hire workers or inappropriately transferring risk and cost of injury from their workplace to yours.
You should also find out who your labour hire worker will be reporting to and the procedures for inducting and training new staff.
Find out specifics about the role the labour hire worker is being assigned to, such as the following:
- job title
- summary of tasks
- duration of the contract
- name and contact details of the supervisor and how they will supervise the employee
- hours of work - conventional shift work, split shifts and extended hours of working can present physical and psychological challenges to employees. For example, for those handling or exposed to substances while at work, the exposure may exceed legal limits if they work more than eight hours a day. You will need to closely monitor and manage this along with the host and the employee.
The labour hire worker
You should identify:
- qualifications and experience
- knowledge or experience gaps – if a labour hire worker is the best fit for the role but there are knowledge gaps, you or the host employer must provide information, instruction and training
- licences and permits the labour hire worker holds, if relevant to the role
The host employer's workplace
You should clarify the following information:
- What is the workplace address and contact details?
- Who are safety issues reported to and who is the health and safety representative (HSR)?
- Is there a procedure for internal reporting of hazards and incidents? How would any incidents involving labour hire workers be captured and communicated to you?
- Are facilities and welfare provided, for example, a lunchroom and showers?
- Is it a higher-risk industry or workplace? Identify hazards such as:
- dangerous machinery
- heavy loads
- loud noise
- people and vehicles in the same area
- working at height or in remote locations
- hazardous manual handling
- poor housekeeping
Once you have completed all checks you can then assess whether the potential host employer is operating within a higher-risk industry or a business with risks that should have specific control measures and operating certificates. This will help you identify the most appropriate person to do the workplace visit.
Risk assessment of the workplace
A trained and competent person from the labour hire provider should visit the workplace and carry out a risk assessment before you send a worker there. A person from the host employer who knows the job and the workplace should accompany the labour hire provider’s person during the risk assessment.
The risk assessment will help you determine whether the job matches the one described by the host employer, whether there are any hazards to the labour hire worker you need to know of and what controls the host employer will need to put in place.
Labour hire providers can use the job safety analysis (JSA) template for their risk assessments. This is available on the Templates for Labour Hire Providers and Host Employers page on the WorkSafe website.
Your risk assessment should include:
- consulting with the host employer
- speaking with someone who performs the task
- speaking with the host employer's HSRs
- breaking down the work into the tasks the employee will perform
- identifying hazards associated with each task and what laws apply to those hazards
- recording what actions are necessary to eliminate or minimise the risk to health and safety before the labour hire worker starts the role, or ensuring this information about hazards and controls, including safe operating methods, is communicated to the labour hire worker. This could be done before placement, during the host employer’s induction or as on-the-job training
You should make sure the JSAs are signed, dated and retained. These form the basis of your judgement of the safety of the host.
You should capture any hazards identified during the risk assessment on a hazard register. This information should be shared with relevant labour hire workers and include details on how the risk will be controlled or removed before they start the role.
Host employer health and safety paperwork
When doing a workplace risk assessment, you should ask the host employer to provide evidence of the following documentation:
- Safe operating procedures (SOPs) that directly relate to the work your labour hire worker will perform.
- A health and safety management system with policies and procedures that cover commitment to:
- injury management
- hazard management
- rehabilitation and claims management
- incident reporting and investigation
- emergency planning
- Hazard-specific policies and procedures for:
- asbestos removal
- manual handling
- plant and equipment
- electrical safety
- hazardous substances
- dangerous goods
- health, safety and wellbeing
- personal protective equipment
Check the manuals, policies and procedures are current, relevant and updated regularly to comply with current legislation. If the host employer cannot provide health and safety policies or SOPs, you have three choices:
- Work with the host employer to implement an effective OHS management system.
- Manage the placement with tight supervision of the individual job.
- Do not place labour hire workers with this host employer.
Assessing high-risk industries
Depending on the industry and the job, someone with specialist knowledge might need to carry out a risk assessment. Such jobs include:
- asbestos removal
- the storage or transport of dangerous goods
- working at height or in confined spaces
- maintenance and repair of high-risk plant
You should refer to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 for detailed requirements.
Labour hire templates
WorkSafe has developed templates that will help you carry out your legal obligations to your labour hire workers. They are listed on the Labour Hire Templates for Labour Hire Providers and Host Employers page and include:
- Engaging with the host employer
- First contact checklist
- Hazard register
- Assessment of host employer's system for managing OHS
- Labour hire provider OHS health check
- Monitoring inspection record
- Assessing the workplace
- Job safety Job safety analysis
- Agreed actions record
- Placing a labour hire worker
- Training register for staff
- Employee induction assessment sheet
- Host induction checklist
- Job and training record
- Hazard/incident report form
Labour hire overview
Labour hire workers
Labour hire providers
Labour hire host employers
Labour hire provider duties after a labour hire worker is placed
Labour hire induction and training
Labour hire: return to work
Labour hire case studies
On-hire and employment agencies classification arrangements FAQ
COVID-19 information for labour hire providers and host employers