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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Labour hire workers get nation-first safety tool as part of National Safe Work Month

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An Australian-first toolkit to improve safety for labour hire workers, including a worker guide and a self-assessment checklist for businesses, has been launched as part of the ‘Protecting Workers At Risk’ themed National Safe Work Month.

SafeWork NSW Director of Compliance and Dispute Resolution, Tony Williams, said the ‘Labour Hire’ toolkit would help reduce the rates of serious injuries and incidents by providing businesses with a baseline of work, health and safety (WHS) expectations relating to the use of labour hire workers.

“Workers in labour hire are estimated to represent more than three per cent of the NSW workforce and while it is critical business have the opportunity for flexibility, it is imperative all precautions are taken on safety,” Williams said.

“Labour hire workers can find themselves working in different businesses where known hazards are variable.

“They are also are likely to be more reluctant to speak out due to fear of not securing further work.

“These workers are typically found in construction, agriculture, manufacturing and health and aged care, and we have translated this kit into four languages, ensuring workers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds have access to the information.

“The kit is made up a number of resources, including a self-assessment checklist for labour hire businesses, a checklist to ensure the suitability of the host business, and an induction checklist for aged-care agency workers.”

These workers are typically found in construction, agriculture, manufacturing and health and aged care, and we have translated this kit into four languages, ensuring workers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds have access to the information.

SafeWork NSW Director of Compliance and Dispute Resolution, Tony Williams

SafeWork NSW is undertaking a number of programs throughout National Safe Work Month, which will include a Mentally Healthy Workplaces Ambassador forum, and inspectors in regional NSW visiting manufacturers and suppliers of agriculture equipment and machinery.

“SafeWork NSW is not an organisation who only appear at your workplace after an incident.

“Our inspectors undertake around 34,000 workplace visits to NSW businesses every year to help improve workplace safety,” Williams said.

“When we undertake a site visit this month, we are focusing on improving safety around forklifts as well as falls risks and COVID compliance.

“While dangerous practices will be specifically addressed, the conversation is largely around safer ways of working.

“Our Mentally Healthy Workplaces (MHW) program is also offering free one-on-one practical coaching for businesses, as well as interactive workshops for managers and employees.

“The Centre for Work Health and Safety is supporting workplaces by focusing on the future of workplace risk.

“It is undertaking studies focusing on interacting with artificial intelligence, as well as the future health risks associated with welding fumes and the prevention of silicosis.

“SafeWork month is our chance to focus on workplace safety – we want your business and your workplace to examine what a safer workplace looks like and I encourage every workplace to start that conversation today,” Williams said.

Further information, such as the labour hire toolkit, can be found here.

Click here for a list of resources you can use throughout October.

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