Hidden risks equal to increased costs:
In the past 2 decades, labour laws have undergone a major change in Australia. Where there was once a successful traditional relationship between employers and employees; today, we get to see greater range of flexible employment options. One such flexible option is labour hire where the hired workers are not employed directly by the organisation but provide adaptable skills for the organisations benefit. What does this spell for the host employer?
Well, it means increased risk of following factors:
1. Workplace injury claim
2. Overall claims expense and defence costs
3. Higher cost of liability cover
Why should you, the host organisation, understand these risks?
When you go through a labour hire organisation like All Force Labour Solutions, you get greater access to the exact skill sets you are looking for, for a limited time period and also at a short notice. Additionally, the labour hire worker remains the employee of the labour hire company so you, the host company, need not worry about worker wages, taxes, insurance, superannuation, leaves etc. By entering into a labour hire arrangement, you can significantly reduce your administrative and traditional employment costs.
I shouldn’t worry! After all; they are not my employees!
In January 2012, the Workplace Health and Safety Laws came into existence for bringing greater harmonisation and to ensure that businesses safeguard the health and wellbeing of all workers including labour hire workers. As a result, host organisations need to be aware of the following points;
1. Fines and penalties may be imposed on your organisation should you fail to meet said requirements.
2. Under the common law, host companies also owe significant duties of care to labour hire workers.
3. Although, as stated before, the worker is not directly your employee, the law considers and recognises this work relationship to imply dependability and vulnerability between you – the host organisation – and the worker. After all, it is your organisation that should control the workplace environment and supervise the manner in which the work is done.
4. The tools, and equipment needed for the task might also be supplied by you – the host organisation.
5. So it is implied that the host ensures the safety and assesses the risk of the work environment.
6. From a risk point of view, both the labour hire company and the host must ensure the following: a) safe place of work b) safe system of work, and c) safe plant and equipment.
How does this affect the hosts?
When it comes to safety at work, host employers must understand that they owe their labour hire employees the same high standard of care owed by a direct employer. The Australian court can hold your organisation accountable for any injury suffered by the worker when they are fulfilling the labour hire arrangement. The labour hire company can also not argue that it is absolved of all responsibility should an injury occur while their employees are working for your host organisation. The labour hire company should, on its part, ensure that reasonable care is taken in the place of work and that systems and equipment provided to the labourers are safe and do not expose them to unnecessary harm.
By being aware of these laws and risks involved, both, labour hire companies and host organisations can manage the safety of the labour employees.
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