Australia Wide 1300 453 555 | International +613 9510 0477 info@safetydimensions.com.au
Labour hire – what are your WHS obligations?

Labour hire – what are your WHS obligations?

When hiring labour, no one should assume that someone else is taking care of health and safety. Everyone in the chain is required to know who is doing what and work together  so risks are eliminated or minimised.

With major construction and infrastructure projects all over the country requiring large workforces, industry is increasingly turning to labour hire to fill the gaps in the workforce.
So what are your WHS obligations to labour hire workers?

Safe Work Australia has published a guide titled ‘Labour hire: duties of persons conducting a business or undertaking’ which provides information for all parties on complying with their health and safety duties for labour hire under the model Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws. This is for persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs), and those involved in the supply of workers (labour hire PCBUs) to work for another business or undertaking (host PCBUs).

Essentially, when hiring labour, no one should assume that someone else is taking care of health and safety. Everyone in the chain is required to know who is doing what and work together with other duty holders so risks are eliminated or minimised as far as is reasonably practicable. What is reasonably practicable will depend on the circumstances.

According to Safe Work Australia, before you engage labour hire workers to carry out work, PCBU’s should consider:

  • Providing the labour hire PCBU/s with detailed information about the nature of work to be carried out, including details of, and where possible supporting material, relating to:
    • The work environment/s
    • Tasks to be performed
    • Accommodation arrangements
    • Any known hazards or risks
    • Any plant or equipment to be used
    • Organisational and WHS arrangements, including supervision arrangements and any other organisations responsible for the worker during the arrangement
    • Health and safety risks associated with the work, and
    • Any skills, knowledge, licenses and qualifications required to safely undertake the work.
  • Verifying, in consultation with the labour hire PCBU, that the selected worker/s have any necessary qualifications, licences, skills and training to carry out the work safely. In limited circumstances, you may be required to verify the worker/s are medically fit to carry out the work (see regulations 168 and 417(3)(b) of the model WHS Regulations)
  • Discussing with the labour hire PCBU, arrangements for health monitoring and vaccinations
  • Consulting with the labour hire PCBU/s on WHS matters including information in relation to who will provide any necessary equipment such as personal protective equipment (PPE), and relevant points of contact for health and safety between the organisations
  • Ensuring that general health and safety information about the work, workplace and work environment has been provided to the worker/s. Check that you have provided this information in a way that is suitable, adequate and readily understandable for the worker/s
  • Eliminating or, if that is not reasonably practicable, minimising risks in the workplace
  • Establishing, in consultation with the labour hire PCBU/s, a review process for ensuring the ongoing WHS of workers, and
  • Any more you can do to ensure the health and safety of all your workers.

The guide also covers what PCBUs need to do while labour hire is engaged in the project, as well as the obligations of those of the PCBUs involved in the supply of workers.

Source: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/media-centre/news/new-guidance-labour-hire-available

 

Want to learn how to manage subcontractors?

Learn to effectively manage WHS site risks and performance by learning how to effectively select, manage and monitor the complex and difficult world of subcontractors.

Find out more and download the course outline below or call us on 1300 453 555.

The link between WHS & your bottom line

The link between WHS & your bottom line

Evidence shows that organisations who invest in health and safety culture have a competitive advantage.

A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine looked at the financial growth of public companies that scored highly in the Corporate Health Achievement Award (CHAA) nominations. The CHAA awards recognise the healthiest, safest companies and organisations in North America and aim to raise awareness of best practices in workplace health and safety programs.1

As part of their application for the awards, organisations presented trend data showing a reduction of health risk, health-cost savings, or other impact on the business as a result of their safety, wellness, and health programs as well as their leadership and management culture.

Using this data, researchers took the top 17 performing companies and created stock market investment scenario, analysing the period spanning 2001 to 2014, using a hypothetical investment of $10,000.

The results?

Companies who did well in health and safety performance achieved a 333% return, compared to the stock market (S&P 500 index) return of 105% during the same period.

Even in the lowest-performing scenario, the CHAA companies achieved a 204% return, compared to an S&P return of 105% during the same period.

This research may have also identified an association between companies that focus on health and safety and companies that manage other aspects of their business equally well.

The modelling suggests that organisation that invested significantly in health and safety programs can outperform other companies in the marketplace.


REFERENCE:
Tracking the Market Performance of Companies That Integrate a Culture of Health and Safety: An Assessment of Corporate Health Achievement Award Applicants. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. January 2016 – Volume 58 – Issue 1 – p 3–8 doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000638.

Learn More About Our Foundational Safety Leadership Program

Focusing on shifting individual attitudes and mindsets regarding how safety is viewed in the workplace, this program also teaches new skills and knowledge to embed behaviour change at an individual and organisational level.

To find out how we can customise this program for your needs call us on 1300 453 555.

Want to transform your organisation's safety culture?

Download Course OutlinesSafety Dimensions offers accredited and non-accredited leadership training for leaders, safety professionals and employees to support organisations to effectively deal with safety performance challenges.

We can train anywhere in Australia and our programs can be customised for your workplace and industry. Download our program guide.

Call 1300 453 555 or email info@safetydimensions.com.au

More from our blog

Key WHS statistics Australia

Key WHS statistics Australia

Safe Work Australia compiles the National Dataset for compensation-based statistics which comprises information on workers' compensation claims provided by each of the jurisdictional workers' compensation authorities. Although 563,600 people experienced a work-related...

read more
Labour hire – what are your WHS obligations?

Labour hire – what are your WHS obligations?

When hiring labour, no one should assume that someone else is taking care of health and safety. Everyone in the chain is required to know who is doing what and work together  so risks are eliminated or minimised. With major construction and infrastructure projects all...

read more
Why sleep is your superpower

Why sleep is your superpower

Are you and your workers skimping on sleep? It’s been proven that sleep deprivation not only means poorer performance, productivity and safety outcomes, but has an impact on our physical health. Researchers found workers losing just 16 minutes of sleep (from the 7-9...

read more

Soldiering On? Codeine Products Now Prescription Only

Soldiering On? Codeine Products Now Prescription Only

Is your workforce “soldiering on” through colds, flu and pain with products that contain codeine?

From 1 Feb 2018 they’ll need a prescription for over-the-counter medicines containing codeine. This has implications for organisations who conduct drug and alcohol testing and for industries and occupations where a worker could kill or seriously injure themselves, another worker or a member of the public.

Have you updated your workforce regarding the change?
Has it been discussed at Toolbox talks?

THE BACKGROUND

What is codeine ?

Codeine is the most common form of the opiate (morphine-like) class of drugs, a narcotic used to treat pain by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. It is used in common over-the-counter pain relievers.

Effects include drowsiness, confusion, erratic behaviour, tiredness, poor concentration, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, and sweating. Side effects of Codeine can seriously impact Workplace Health & Safety, especially for jobs that involve driving, machinery and high risk work.

Why is codeine now prescription only ?

Codeine is recognised as a drug of dependency by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. This is based on the evidence of harm caused by overuse and abuse of medicines – and that medicines containing codeine for pain relief offered very little additional benefit when compared to similar medicines without codeine. Thus codeine products have become prescription only.

What do the changes to codeine mean and what should your company do?

Given codeine has been in so many over-the-counter medications people may have used every day over a long period, there is a strong need to educate your workforce from a duty-of-care perspective.

Let your people know

Make people aware of the full list of codeine-based products previously available over-the-counter, which from 1 February 2018 requires them to have a prescription from a doctor.  View the list on the right, and see what the common brand names are.

Update your company policy

Depending on your company policy, people using codeine medications may be required to obtain a letter of verification that the use is not of a dependent nature, even if it was purchased before the cut-off date. This would be something to explore quickly, given the change is already in force.

Make people aware of the withdrawal symptoms and where to find help

It is important to be aware of codeine withdrawal symptoms. Without a prescription, some people may run out and suddenly stop taking it which may cause withdrawal symptoms.

Let your people know that if they are withdrawing from codeine, they should seek medical advice, as some of the common symptoms start within a few hours after the last dose and become strongest between 48 and 72 hours.

Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Cravings for codeine
  • Dilated pupils
  • Abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • A runny nose and sneezing
  • Yawning and difficulty sleeping
  • Trembling, aching muscles and joints
  • Goosebumps, fever, chills, sweating
  • Restlessness, irritability, nervousness, depression

Next steps

For those organisations who conduct drug testing, it is important for you to advise your employees they now require a prescription for any medication containing codeine.  Failure to provide a prescription if codeine is found in their system will be in breech of policy.  You may wish to seek out an expert to help you revise your organisational Drug and Alcohol Policy and educate and inform your workforce.

The easiest and most effective way to deliver this to the workforce is is via an effective Toolbox Talk or Lunch and Learn where you explain the change to codeine use and your company policy, including the implications for a breech.

Safety Dimensions can help you with communicating safety messages effectively through either consultancy or our courses, both accredited and non-accredited. Email us on info@safetydimensions.com.au or contact 1300 453 555.

Need training in communicating safety messages to your people?

Check out our programs below to help you communicate more effectively like our Effective Safety Consultation Program.
Email us on info@safetydimensions.com.au or contact 1300 453 555.

WHAT PRODUCTS ARE NOW PRESCRIPTION ONLY?

Codeine may also be known by a brand or trade name. Some of these common brands are:

Generic Name / Brand names
Aspirin and codeine  / Aspalgin®, Codral Cold & Flu Original®
Ibuprofen and codeine / Nurofen Plus®
Paracetamol and codeine / Panadeine Forte®, Panamax Co®
Paracetamol, codeine and doxylamine / Mersyndol® and Mersyndol Forte®, Panalgesic®1

VIEW THE FULL LIST >>

HELP RESOURCES

More about withdrawal from codeine visit:
https://adf.org.au/alcohol-drug-use/supporting-a-loved-one/withdrawal

NPS MedicineWise
www.nps.org.au

Pain Australia
www.painaustralia.org.au

painHEALTH
https://painhealth.csse.uwa.edu.au

Australian Pain Management Association
www.painmanagement.org.au

Ask Your Pharmacist:
askyourpharmacist.com.au

Pain Link Helpline – 1300 340 357

Healthdirect Australia Advice Line – 1800 022 222
_________________________________

Sources

Therapeutic Goods Association https://www.tga.gov.au/codeine-info-hub
Alcohol and Drug Foundation: https://adf.org.au/help-support/support-services-directory/
Safe Work Australia https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/drugs-alcohol
Arisk Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1uG9Gyf-3U

 

Want to elevate your Toolbox Talks?

Effective Safety Consultation Program

This program focuses on helping participants generate genuine two-way communication.

Get the skills to:

  • Conduct effective and engaging Toolbox Talks, Pre-Start and safety meetings
  • Gain employees’ and team members’ attention and get them motivated about safety
  • Learn how to overcome potential barriers to achieve engaged participation
  • Ensure others don’t just hear, but understand safety messages
  • Show confidence as a communicator and leader
  • Apply effective consultation skills to all meetings

Download the course outline (page 9) in our full course brochure here >>

Key WHS statistics Australia

Key WHS statistics Australia

Safe Work Australia compiles the National Dataset for compensation-based statistics which comprises information on workers' compensation claims provided by each of the jurisdictional workers' compensation authorities. Although 563,600 people experienced a work-related...

read more
Labour hire – what are your WHS obligations?

Labour hire – what are your WHS obligations?

When hiring labour, no one should assume that someone else is taking care of health and safety. Everyone in the chain is required to know who is doing what and work together  so risks are eliminated or minimised. With major construction and infrastructure projects all...

read more
Why sleep is your superpower

Why sleep is your superpower

Are you and your workers skimping on sleep? It’s been proven that sleep deprivation not only means poorer performance, productivity and safety outcomes, but has an impact on our physical health. Researchers found workers losing just 16 minutes of sleep (from the 7-9...

read more

More from our blog

Low “Near Miss” Reporting – Good Sign or Failure?

Low “Near Miss” Reporting – Good Sign or Failure?

Ready to train your people in hazard identification and risk management?

We have a range of programs that will train your people in hazard identification and risk management which we can tailor specifically to your industry organisational needs.

Training can be taken as individual training program (download our course outlines here), or as part of one of our accredited programs:

10604NAT Certificate IV in Safety Leadership (WHS) – Construction

BSB41415 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety

BSB51315 Diploma Of Work Health And Safety

Need some training? We can customise to your needs.

A near-miss is defined as an “unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness or damage – but had the potential to do so.”

As organisations move through their safety culture maturity the issue of near-miss reporting raises its head. A mature organisation has a culture which tracks near-misses, examines how and why the near-miss happened, then puts in controls to minimise or eliminate the risk.  However not all organisations understand the purpose of near-miss reporting, or even if they say they do, they may fail to communicate benefits that reporting near-misses can bring to the safety of the organisation.

The purpose of near reporting is to allow the organisation to take cultural clues and assess their processes and procedures to determine how to prevent the “near-miss” occurring again with potential harm associated with it.

Some organisations celebrate low reported numbers of near-misses. However, many do this without closely determining what the low numbers mean? Did the near-misses not happen, or is it more likely that staff are just not reporting them?

Safety professionals agree that implementing a near-miss or close call reporting system works to rectify potential hazards and injuries.

Near-miss reporting is often described as a gift – because it hasn’t caused harm but instead is a wake-up call that something could have gone wrong if adequate controls weren’t put in place.

Near-miss reporting adds value in an organisation when it is treated in a proactive way – used to improve the workplace and move towards rectifying risks. At the same time support needs to be given to those who report the near-miss, and the learning that comes out of the near-miss or close call needs to filter through the whole organisation.

Why don’t people report near-misses?

There are five common reasons why employees / contractors don’t report near-misses or close calls.

  1. The fear of management reprisal. This could be; the fear of losing your job for speaking up, being branded a snitch or implicating others in the cause or the impact of the near-miss. For contractors it could be the fear of loss of reputation, work or an entire contract.
  2. Nothing happens. Near-miss reporting is seen as a ‘tick and flick’ requirement for management. The person reporting the near-miss does not ever hear or see what happens once they have submitted their report.
  3. The paperwork gets in the way. It’s just too much trouble to start up the paper trail which will go nowhere, so why should we all bother creating more work for everyone?
  4. What’s a near-miss and what do I have to report on? The uncertainty of what constitutes a near-miss and of exactly what has to be reported and sometimes even how to report it.
  5. It’s no biggie. The perception that it is ‘just something that happens in the line of work we do’.

10 Steps to encourage near miss reporting

  1. Train people in hazard identification. This has your people thinking proactively about hazards before they escalate into near misses. Safety Dimensions can help you with this.
  2. Remind your leaders and frontline staff that near misses being reported – especially if there have been a few in the past – are opportunities to improve, not slacken the focus on safety systems and procedures.
  3. Look for and share stories of where near miss reporting and rectifications have stopped a major incident or seek out and share near miss reports and how they are being responded to on a daily basis.
  4. Work collaboratively to work out a system to report near misses. i.e. potential for severe harm to people, plant/ assets, environment (high-risk). Keep it simple so everyone knows what to do and how to report.
  5. Make the reporting system easy to use and with the ability to collect useful data for rectification – this might mean you need to develop an anonymous reporting system, using technology i.e. online, an incident hotline, dedicated text message number or a mobile app.
  6. Encourage verbal reporting. You may need to start by doing the paper-work for your team.
  7. Praise whoever submits a near miss report. Let everyone know this is how they can play their part in stopping major incidents based on their reporting, before it happens again. The difference between complacency and speaking up (about a near miss or hazard) can make the difference between no one getting hurt, an injury or a tragic fatality.
  8. ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING. You’ve been given a wake-up call by a near-miss, now use that knowledge of what ‘could have happened’ to put in controls to eliminate or manage the risk immediately.
  9. At the end of each week, month or quarter, review the types of near misses that have occurred, with your team, to highlight trends and patterns to determine coaching / training / reinforcement/ procedure or systems review that your organisation needs to undertake to strengthen the area.
  10. Acknowledge the fact that your team sees near miss reporting as “the way things are done around here” and it’s no longer a tick and flick exercise.

Ready to train your people in hazard identification and risk management?

We have a range of programs that will train your people in hazard identification and risk management which we can tailor specifically to your industry organisational needs.

Training can be taken as individual training program (download all our course outlines here or the individual topics below) as part of one of our accredited programs:

10604NAT Certificate IV in Safety Leadership (WHS) – Construction

BSB41415 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety

BSB51315 Diploma Of Work Health And Safety

DOWNLOAD COURSE OUTLINE NOW

 Risk Assessment including hazard identification, risk analysis.

This programs helps you identify and describe the difference between a hazard and a risk and introduces a way of thinking about hazard identification and risk management as an everyday activity. Enhances the skills and capabilities of leaders in the areas of hazard identification, risk analysis, and identification and how to implement appropriate risk controls.

DOWNLOAD NOW >>

DOWNLOAD COURSE OUTLINE NOW

Participate In Incident Investigations.

This program gives participants the mindset and skill set to undertake or assist in incident investigations, including how to identify and ensure all evidence and facts related to an incident  (or near-miss) are understood, sequenced and analysed.

Coach others to use best practice safety thinking when investigating near misses, high potential incidents and other critical events.

DOWNLOAD NOW >>

DOWNLOAD COURSE OUTLINE NOW

Manage Incident Investigations.

This program develops your skills to determine the requirements, protocols and processes of managing a post incident response, including leading others to gather evidence effectively, identifying the real causal factors of an incident, corrective and preventative actions and overseeing appropriate reporting, monitoring and reviews.

DOWNLOAD NOW >>