Health and Safety for temporary workers

Temporary Workers

Health and Safety requirements apply to everyone within a business, it doesn’t matter if they’re permanent or temporary workers. In fact, in many cases, particularly if temporary workers have been supplied by a third party agency, there may be more thought required to ensure that health and safety requirements are being met.

Open lines of communication

Where temporary workers have been supplied by a recruitment agency, good dialogue between both parties is essential. Of paramount importance is ensuring that all potential risks and threats and have covered effectively and completely.

Between agency and employer –

  • Prior to starting, ensure that temporary workers are covered by risk assessments and aware of the measures within them.
  • Establish that any skill and/or qualifications required for the position are in place.
  • Ensure that instructions and relevant safety information has been forwarded in advance and this has been understood. Any necessary training should also have been completed.
  • Arrangements for providing any personal protective equipment and ongoing health surveillance should be agreed.
  • Agree on a procedure for reporting relevant accidents to the enforcing authority.
  • Where the job unavoidably contains spells of intensive display screen work (whether using the keyboard or input device, reading the screen, or a mixture of the two), these should be broken up by periods of non-intensive, non-display screen work. Where work cannot be so organised, e.g. in jobs requiring only data or text entry requiring sustained attention and concentration, deliberate breaks or pauses must be introduced.

It is a requirement under the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003, that employers using workers supplied by agencies and those agencies supplying them must exchange the information both parties require ensuring the safety of workers.

For the temporary worker

Temporary workers should be satisfied that all health and safety guidelines are being adhered to by taking time to familiarise themselves with all relevant site rules before their placement begins. They should also be sure to take note of their own responsibilities and entitlements, including –

  • Workers have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety in addition to taking responsibility for any actions that may impact on others.
  • Co-operation with the agency, employing company and co-workers is essential to ensure that all legal requirements are met.
  • If personal protective equipment is required this should be supplied free of charge and any relevant training offered. However, it is the workers responsibility to ensure that gloves, face masks, hard hats, safety shoes etc. fit correctly and are used in line with training received. The worker is also required to report any loss or damage to any of this equipment.
  • If use of a computer screen is required then the worker is entitled to a DSE (Display Screen Equipment) assessment to ensure it is being used correctly.
  • Workers are entitled to a rest break of at least 20 minutes for every 6 hours stretch. They are also entitled to an annual period of paid holiday.
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