Guide

Agency workers' health and safety

Co-operate to protect agency workers' health and safety

Responsibility for agency workers' health and safety is often shared regardless of where contractual duties lie. The business using the workers, the employment agency and the workers themselves can all have responsibilities. Co-operation is essential.

Co-operate for agency workers' safety from the start

From the start, every interested party must share information. For example, if the user business wants workers for a particular role, they should tell the agency health and safety risks, and any qualifications or skills needed to carry out the work safely.

This will help the agency put forward people with the right training, qualifications and experience. The agency should tell the user business about workers' skills and qualifications, to help decide what additional training the workers may need.

Sharing information with the workers themselves is also vital. See agency workers and health and safety information and training.

Ongoing co-operation for agency workers' safety

Continuing co-operation throughout placements will help ensure that responsibilities are clear. It also allows everyone involved to co-ordinate health and safety activities such as giving information, instruction, training and supervision. Nobody should just assume that someone else is taking care of it. For clarity, responsibilities should be spelt out in contractual arrangements. Remember that your legal responsibility as an employer cannot be passed on.

It's a good idea to regularly review the effectiveness of your arrangements. For example, the end of a work placement is a natural time to do this. You should try to identify any problems, and discuss the reasons for them. This will help you take steps to improve health and safety for the future.