Reasons for change?
Formerly, a host employer owed some health and safety duties to labour hire workers under the OHS Act, however they did not owe all of the employer duties to the worker. This created a disadvantage for labour hire workers, which these changes will address.
The objective of the requirement for labour hire providers and host employers to consult, cooperate and coordinate activities is to:
- Ensure they understand how their health and safety duties are shared and assist them to plan and manage health and safety.
- Ensure they are aware of what the risks to health and safety of labour hire workers are and how to respond to those risks.
- Make the control of risks more effective and efficient.
The definitions of “labour hire services”, “provider” and “worker” have been extended in the OHS Act and reflect the same meaning as they do in the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018.
A host employer will now be considered the ”employer” where the provider of labour hire services:
- supplies the worker to;
- recruits the worker for; or
- places the worker to perform work for a host employer.
Additional duties owed by host employers
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|Monitor the health of employees.||s22(1)(a)|
|Provide information to employees about health and safety, including in other languages as appropriate.||s22(1)(c)|
|Keep information and records relating to health and safety of employees.||s22(2)(a)|
|Employ or engage persons suitably qualified to provide advice on health and safety of employees.||s22(2)(b)|
|Consult with employees when doing certain things related to OHS (including identifying and controlling hazards and risks, making decisions about the adequacy of facilities and making changes that may affect the health and safety of employees).||s35|
|Do everything reasonable to ensure negotiations on the establishment of a Designated Work Group (DWG) within 14 days after receiving a request from an employee.||s43|
|An employer (or prospective employer) is guilty of an indictable offence if they discriminate against an employee (or prospective employee) on the basis the employee does specific things permitted by the OHS Act.||s76|
Duty to consult, cooperate and coordinate
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|Consult||Means the exchange of information that allows labour hire providers and host employers to jointly manage health and safety. It includes providing reasonable opportunity to express views and taking those views into account when deciding how to meet shared responsibilities. It also includes documenting expectations and how each will cooperate and coordinate with each other.|
|Cooperation||Means implementation of health and safety arrangements identified as necessary during the consultation process. This includes reasonable requests from any other person who has a shared responsibility towards the same worker and to not obstruct communication with them.|
|Coordination||Means working together to meet shared duties without leaving gaps in health and safety for the labour hire worker and should involve identifying and planning activities together, ensuring any control measures work together effectively and ensuring all health and safety matters are addressed and all OHS duties are met.|
|Who does it apply to?||This requirement for consultation, cooperation and coordination only applies to labour hire providers and host employers, it does not apply outside of labour hire arrangements. Employers already have an existing duty to consult with employees, including independent contractors and labour hire workers, under s35 of the OHS Act.|
|When should it take place?||
Consultation, cooperation and coordination activity should start before the labour hire worker is placed at the workplace and should be ongoing throughout the term of the contractual period.
Further consultations are likely to be required if circumstances change, e.g. work location or roles changes.
|What are the shared responsibilities?||
The labour hire provider and host employer should consult, cooperate and coordinate activities on:
Refusal to consult, cooperate or coordinate
Workers compensation arrangements
There is also a (PDF, 60 KB) before and after the amendments for easy reference.
WorkSafe is also preparing additional information to support the labour hire amendments when they commence, including updates to existing guidance and new case studies.
Want to find out more about Workers Compensation insurance?
This article has been prepared by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL234708 (“Allianz”). In some cases, information has been provided to us by third parties and while that information is believed to be accurate and reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed in any way.
Any opinions expressed constitute our views at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither Allianz, nor its employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy or accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in this article.
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