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Best practices for Temporary worker safety

Kate Allen, Executive Chair and Marketing Director, Allen Associates

Filling skills gaps caused by sickness, leave or a rise in demand with Temporary workers is common practice for Employers in today’s competitive landscape.

In fact, according to research from the Resolution Foundation, Britain’s economy is currently reliant on 800,000 short term contractors - that’s a 40% rise since 2008.

As well as serving as a stop-gap measure, managers cite cost, control and convenience as the primary drivers for hiring Temporary workers. However, as beneficial as they may be to the productivity of the business, Employers must take care not to overlook the risks that come with recruiting short-term staff on a whim - the greatest of which is the safety of the workers themselves.

Various studies have shown that new workers are the most susceptible to work-related injury, and Temporary workers can be “new” workers several times a year. In turn, these workers are more prone to risk of injury if they are not offered the same protections as permanent workers. The health and safety of staff during day-to-day tasks and assignments lies directly with the business using their services.

Co-operate and communicate with the agency

All too often, Employers are quick to assume the agency has full responsibility for the safety of a Temporary worker. In turn, they fail to establish certain key points prior to taking Temp staff on board such as whether or not they are covered by risk assessments and if they know what measures have been taken to protect them.

Under the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003, agencies and businesses that use workers supplied by them must exchange the information they both need to ensure the safety of workers - this may include any arrangements for providing protective equipment and any necessary health surveillance. Before they begin, Temporary staff should have a clear understanding of the information and instructions they need to work safely and have undergone any necessary training.

Review your existing policies

Before selecting a Temporary worker for a particular role, it’s essential to review and potentially revise your health and safety policies if need be. Your policy should be a clear statement of management’s commitment to achieving high quality standards for safe work with contractors and specify who in the business is responsible for supervising Temp workers. Remember, your health and safety policy should be regularly assessed on its effectiveness in preventing injuries and reducing sickness and updated accordingly.

Ensure management know what to look for

Before a contractor can start working for a company, they must be given information about the site in a way that is simple and straightforward to understand. It should go without saying, but receiving a full and detailed brief on the job itself before allowing work to begin is pivotal to the safety of the Temporary worker.

When it comes to managing contractors on site, management must fully understand their responsibilities as well as the risks and preventative measures for all jobs involving Temporary staff. In order to promote best practice, members of staff responsible for Temp workers should know exactly what to look out for when checking on the health and safety standards of staff as well as what action to take should they find particular problems within their practice.

Monitor and report on health and safety management

Due to the short-term nature of their employment, Temporary workers must be able to quickly adapt to new sites, new projects and new protocols with ease. However, that does not negate the need for regular checks on progress and supervision where necessary to ensure contractors are working safely.

When working within your premises, Temporary staff should be encouraged to report all incidents and accidents no matter how minor so that the business can learn from these potential oversights. When a job is finished, managers responsible for contractors should review their health and safety performance and record it for future use. From here, the company can learn from mistakes and improve Temporary worker arrangements if need be.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.

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