Labour hire agency duties: before an employee is placed

Before labour hire agencies place employees, they must first gather relevant information about the client, role, employee and the workplace. This helps them to assess if the workplace is safe and to choose the right candidate. 

Date last updated

Monday 03 Feb 2020

Industries and topics
  • Labour hire

On this page

  • The host
  • The work
  • The employee
  • The workplace
  • Labour hire templates

The host

Find out how the host manages health and safety.

  • If you think there is a risk of injury related to the role, talk to the host. 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’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 performance against the industry they operate in.
  • Identify whether the host is trying to give more dangerous work to agency employees or inappropriately transferring risk and cost of injury from their workplace to yours.

You should also find out who your employee will be reporting to and the procedures for inducting and training new staff.

The work

Find out specifics about the role the employee 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 over 8 hours a day. You will need to closely monitor and manage this along with the host and the employee.

The employee

You should identify:

  • qualifications and experience
  • knowledge or experience gaps – if an employee is the best fit for the role but there are knowledge gaps, you or the host must provide information, instruction and training
  • licences and permits the employee holds, if relevant to the role. 

The host's workplace

  • What is the workplace address and contact details?
  • Who are safety issues reported to and who is the health and safety representative (HSR)? Confirm whether the HSR is authorised to represent labour hire employees.
  • Is there a procedure for internal reporting of hazards and incidents? How would any incidents involving labour hire employees be captured and communicated to you?
  • Are facilities and welfare, such as a lunch room and showers provided?
  • Is it a higher risk industry or workplace?  Identify hazards such as dangerous machinery, heavy loads, loud noise, chemicals, people and vehicles in the same area, working at height or in remote locations, hazardous manual handling and poor housekeeping.

Once you have completed all checks you can then assess whether the potential host 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 agency should visit the workplace and carry out a risk assessment before you send an employee there. A person from the host who knows the job and the workplace should accompany the agency person during the risk assessment.

This will help you determine if the job matches the one described by the host, whether there are any hazards to the employee you need to know of and what controls the host will need to put in place.

Labour hire agencies can use the job safety analysis (JSA) template for their risk assessments. This is available on the Templates for labour hire agencies and hosts page below.

You should carry out risk assessment by:

  • consulting with the host
  • consulting with someone who performs the task
  • consulting with the host's HSRs
  • breaking down the work into the jobs the employee will perform
  • identifying hazards associated with each job and what laws apply to those hazards
  • recording what actions are necessary to eliminate or minimise the risk of injury before the employee starts the role, or ensuring this information (hazards and controls, including safe operating methods) is communicated verbally to the employee. This could be done prior to placement, during the host’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 host.

Hazard register

You should capture any hazards identified during the risk assessment on a hazard register. This information should be shared with relevant employees with details on how the hazard will be controlled or removed prior to them starting the role.

Host health and safety paperwork

When doing a workplace risk assessment you should ask to see the following documentation.

  • Safe operating procedures (SOPs) that directly relate to the work your employee will perform.
  • A health and safety management system with policies and procedures that cover commitment to safety, responsibilities, consultation, injury management, hazard management, rehabilitation and claims management, incident reporting and investigation, training and emergency planning.
  • Hazard-specific policies and procedures for asbestos removal, falls, noise, manual handling, plant and equipment, electrical safety, hazardous substances, dangerous goods, health, safety and wellbeing, personal protective equipment, housekeeping and inspections.

Check the manuals, policies and procedures are current, relevant and updated regularly to comply with current legislation. If the host cannot provide health and safety policies or SOPs you have three choices:

  1. work with the host to implement an effective OHS management system
  2. manage the placement with tight supervision of the individual job
  3. do not place any labour hire employees with this host.

Assessing high risk industries

Depending on the industry and the job, a risk assessment might need to be carried out by someone with specialist knowledge. Such jobs include asbestos removal, the storage or transport of dangerous goods, working at height or in confined spaces and maintenance and repair of high-risk plant. You should refer to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 for detailed requirements.

Labour hire templates

We have developed a number of templates that will help you carry out your legal obligations to your employees. They are listed on the Labour hire templates for agencies and hosts page below and include:

  1. Engaging with the host
    1. First contact checklist
    2. Hazard register
    3. Assessment of host’s system for managing OHS
    4. Labour hire agency OHS health check
    5. Monitoring inspection record
  2. Assessing the workplace
    1. Job safety Job safety analysis
    2. Agreed actions record
  3. Placing a worker
    1. Training register for staff
    2. Employee induction assessment sheet
  4. Hosts
    1. Host induction checklist
    2. Job and training record
    3. Hazard/incident report form