Agency workers' health and safety

Who is responsible for agency workers' health and safety?


When a business uses agency workers, the business and the agency have a shared duty to protect the health and safety of the agency workers.

Some health and safety duties depend on whether you are the employer. This is determined by the circumstances of each individual case. You should be aware that agency workers could be considered your employees for health and safety purposes even if they are not for the purposes of tax and National Insurance.

Agency workers might be employees of the agency, or employees of the business using them (in both cases, under a contract of employment), or (occasionally) self-employed/freelance. If you are the employer, you cannot transfer your health and safety responsibilities to another person or business.

It's vital for both the user business and the agency to agree at the start of a contract the practical arrangements for:

  • day-to-day supervision
  • direction and control of the work that agency workers will be doing

The Health and Safety Executive provide guidance on determining employment status.

  • HSENI Helpline
    0800 032 0121
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