Training for seasonal labour hire workers in agriculture example case study
This case study highlights how labour hire providers and host employers can work together to fulfil their shared responsibilities for training seasonal labour hire workers.
A labour hire provider placed five seasonal labour hire workers at a vegetable farm for four weeks. The farm became the labour hire workers' host employer. When employing labour hire workers, both the host employer and labour hire provider are responsible for training and supervising the labour hire workers.
The host employer did not provide the seasonal labour hire workers with workplace-specific training when they started work at the farm.
The host employer assumed the labour hire provider had already trained the labour hire workers. The host employer also assumed the seasonal labour hire workers did not need training due to their experience on another farm.
As a result, the seasonal labour hire workers did not receive adequate training as part of their induction. The host employer expected them to operate unfamiliar machinery and equipment, which placed the seasonal labour hire workers at risk of a work-related injury.
The labour hire provider was made aware that the host employer had failed to provide the seasonal labour hire workers with workplace-specific training. The labour hire provider reminded the host employer of their shared duties to ensure the health and safety of the seasonal labour hire workers. The shared duties include providing information, instruction, training and supervision.
The labour hire provider and host employer met to discuss their shared duties. They agreed for the host employer to provide workplace-specific training for the five seasonal workers so they could continue with their current placement. The labour hire provider and host employer also agreed to set out a plan before the placement of any future seasonal labour hire workers. The plan includes confirming the training requirements of seasonal labour hire workers and who is responsible for the training.
Through consultation, the labour hire provider and host employer agreed that the host employer is responsible for providing workplace-specific training.
They agreed that the labour hire provider is not able to provide workplace-specific training or supervision because machinery and equipment often varies between farms. The labour hire provider also reminded the host employer that seasonal labour hire workers need workplace-specific training, regardless of their experience on other farms.
The labour hire provider modified its pre-placement workplace checks. The labour hire provider now confirms with the host employer that the host employer will provide workplace-specific training and induction to all seasonal labour hire workers before they start work on farms.
The host employer set up training systems with its supervisors and leading hands. The training systems ensure every employee receives training in picking techniques and safety around machinery. The training system also includes assessing machinery operators’ skills before operating farm machinery or working on packing lines.
Labour hire provider improvements
Consult with the host employer about shared duties before placing seasonal labour hire workers at a farm.
Document agreed shared duties with the host employer, including the person responsible for seasonal labour hire workers.
Update and document pre-placement policies and procedures to confirm the host employer’s responsibility to provide seasonal labour hire workers with workplace-specific training.
Record seasonal labour hire workers’ induction and licence details before placement to ensure the host employer receives correct information.
Consider conducting a shared induction to verify that task-specific inductions have occurred.
Keep a record of the information, instruction, training and supervision each seasonal labour hire worker receives from the labour hire provider and the host employer.
Respond to any reasonable requests from the host employer about their shared health and safety duties to seasonal labour hire workers.
Ensure seasonal labour hire workers know the process to raise any occupational health and safety (OHS) concerns with the host employer.
Host employer improvements
Set up training systems to ensure all seasonal labour hire workers receive detailed OHS induction and training. Ensure seasonal labour hire workers can demonstrate the tasks to confirm competency. This includes:
demonstrating they can operate farm machinery safely and in the terrain where they will be working
ensuring seasonal labour hire workers understand where they should and should not stand in relation to any farm machinery
ensuring seasonal labour hire workers use the safest body positions for picking vegetables, stretch regularly and take regular rest breaks
ensuring seasonal labour hire workers know how to raise any health and safety concerns
Ensure that all employees are aware of any designated work group and any health and safety representatives at the workplace.
Document agreed shared duties with the labour hire provider, including the person responsible for seasonal labour hire workers.
Document training and induction policies and procedures and provide these to the labour hire provider.
Maintain regular communication with the labour hire provider about the seasonal labour hire workers. Communication includes sharing information about:
induction and training the seasonal labour hire workers receive
proposed changes to seasonal labour hire workers' work tasks
Respond to any reasonable requests from the labour hire provider about shared OHS duties, including providing the labour hire provider with access to the workplace where required.
Consult with seasonal labour hire workers about OHS matters, including any proposed changes that may affect their health and safety.