Who is a host
A host is the business/organisation that labour hire employees are placed with. They are the client of the labour hire agency.
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act), the health and safety of labour hire employees is a shared duty by both the labour hire agency and the host. No contract can exclude the host or agency from fulfilling their legal obligations to provide a place of work that is safe and without risks to health.
Both the labour hire agency and host have responsibilities for training, assessing OHS risks and monitoring the workplace. They must also ensure the employee is capable and provided with everything they need to do the job safely, for example knowledge, qualifications, personal protective equipment.
If the labour hire agency is not confident that you can provide a healthy and safe workplace, they should not place an employee with you.
Host OHS responsibilities
The host must treat labour hire employees and contractors as if they are its own employees with regards to health and safety. The host's Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) duties include:
- providing and maintaining a working environment that is safe and without risks to health, so far as is reasonably practicable
- defining the job, tasks or role
- identifying hazards and controlling any risks that arise from the work
- ensuring the employee has the right skills and knowledge to perform the work safely
- ensuring the employee has qualifications, certificates, permits and licences relevant to the job
- not changing the employees' tasks or location of work without consulting with the agency and the employee
- providing training, instruction, information and supervision
- maintain training register for the labour hire employee
- ensuring there is the necessary equipment to do the job safely, such as personal protective equipment
- encouraging labour hire employees to take part in health and safety consultations and issue resolution by introducing them to the relevant health and safety representative (HSR) and the person responsible for OHS
- making sure that labour hire employees understand the OHS requirements of the workplace, for example by going through an induction with the employee
- advising labour hire employees on how to report hazards or incidents relating to health and safety
- notifying WorkSafe Victoria of any notifiable incident or injury
- encouraging the labour hire employee to maintain contact with their labour hire agency
- ensuring equipment brought into your workplace is safe
- consulting with employees and HSRs about health and safety.
Relationship with the labour hire agency
As a host you should work with the agency in a number of ways:
- provide detailed information about the nature of work to be carried out, associated hazards and risk control measures
- access health and safety system information
- support requests to visit the workplace
- support the agency when implementing a return to work plan, if required
- enter negotiations to improve risks controls if requested
- consult with the agency and employee when carrying out an incident investigation
- consult with the labour hire agency on OHS matters including in relation to who will provide necessary equipment such as personal protective equipment (PPE), and relevant points of contact for health and safety between the organisations
- consult with the agency and employee if you wish to change their role and or location during placement. The job training register template can be used to support this process. You'll find this on the Templates for labour hire agencies and hosts page below.
Labour hire employees are your responsibility
It is a requirement to treat labour hire employees as if they were direct hires. A look at the latest prosecutions shows what can happen when their health and safety is compromised.
Go to Prosecution result summaries and select: Category > 'Labour hire'.