Each new work placement poses health and safety risks. It's essential the business using the workers, the agency and the workers themselves share information to ensure health and safety is properly protected.
You should consider what health and safety information, instruction and training workers need (whether you are the user business or the agency). You should clarify who will provide it to meet the legal duties you both have under health and safety legislation.
User businesses have a duty to give proper instructions and clear information, both to the workers and the agency.
You should provide information about:
- risks agency workers may face when working in your business
- any special occupational skills or qualifications required
- health surveillance requirements
Agencies have the same duties if the workers are their employees. Additionally, the user business should tell the agency about any special features of the job that may affect agency workers' health and safety. The agency must pass this information on to the workers.
You should check that workers have understood training once it's been given and are continuing to follow procedures correctly.
Consulting with your workforce about safety
Consultation with your workforce is key to improving health and safety. Workers are more likely to work in a safe and healthy way if they have been involved in decisions about how risks at work are controlled.
Whether you are a business using agency workers or an agency, you are legally obliged to consult workers about health and safety if they are your employees.
It is good practice to consult workers who may not be your employees where the placement is long term. This should not in itself be seen as implying contractual obligations. Agency workers have the right to equal treatment in terms of basic working and employment conditions after 12 weeks in a placement. See consult your employees on health and safety.
Even when agency workers are not legally your employees, it is good practice to consult and involve them. They need to feel 'part of the team'.