Managing OHS and Workers' Compensation in the Labour Hire Industry


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Presentation that discusses the state of Labour Hire industry from a workplace safety perspective and discusses strategies for reducing injuries and managing them more effecrtively

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  • Managing OHS and Workers' Compensation in the Labour Hire Industry

    1. 1. Labour Hire Workshop Managing OHS and Workers’ Compensation October 2008
    2. 2. Workshop Objectives <ul><li>Debating the issue – is labour hire more dangerous for on-hire workers? </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding the legal obligations of agencies and host employers </li></ul><ul><li>Practical solutions for labour hire agencies and host employers </li></ul>
    3. 3. What are the numbers saying? <ul><li>2.5M Australians are in casual employment (which includes on-hire employees) </li></ul><ul><li>Over 880,000 on-hire employees in 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>Top 5 “riskiest” industries and percentage of workforce that is casual </li></ul><ul><li>Transport and storage (22%) – incidence rate = 28.4 </li></ul><ul><li>Mining (14%) – IR = 18.6 </li></ul><ul><li>Construction (24%) – IR = 25.4 </li></ul><ul><li>Manufacturing (16%) – IR = 28.7 </li></ul><ul><li>Agriculture, forestry and fishing (50%) – IR = 26.0 </li></ul>
    4. 4. What are the numbers saying? <ul><li>Revenue in labour hire sector is growing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>$8.7 billion in 2000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>$10.6 billion in 2005 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Labour Hire agencies tend to employ high proportions of the 4 most dangerous occupations </li></ul><ul><li>Labourers and related workers – 24.7% of all claims </li></ul><ul><li>Tradespersons and related workers – 19.7% </li></ul><ul><li>Intermediate production and transport – 17.3% </li></ul><ul><li>Intermediate clerical, sales and service – 12.4% </li></ul>
    5. 5. Debating the Issue <ul><li>Is Labour Hire likely to result in more injuries that are more severe? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the negatives? </li></ul><ul><li>It is difficult to measure – workers’ comp stats absorb on-hire employees into placement industries </li></ul><ul><li>Labour hire is more concentrated in semi-skilled or unskilled (high risk) occupations </li></ul><ul><li>Younger employees with less skills, qualifications and work experience </li></ul><ul><li>Host employers generally small to medium size enterprise who have limited resources, knowledge and preventative OHS systems </li></ul>
    6. 6. Debating the Issue <ul><li>Higher intensity of tasks in unfamiliar settings </li></ul><ul><li>Less likely to receive intensive, on-the-job training and supervision </li></ul><ul><li>Less exchange of information between on-hire employees and host employers </li></ul><ul><li>Less discretion in the way tasks are performed </li></ul><ul><li>Less influence and less involvement in host employer consultation arrangements </li></ul><ul><li>High risk tasks are often off-loaded by employers to labour hire agencies as a substitution and minimisation control strategy </li></ul>
    7. 7. Debating the Issues <ul><li>What are the positives? </li></ul><ul><li>On-hire employees may benefit from the positive effects of both agency and host OHSMS </li></ul><ul><li>On-hire employees may receive an induction from both the agency and the host employer </li></ul><ul><li>In the event of an injury, on-hire employees may have a greater range of RTW options through agency network and promotion of incentives </li></ul>
    8. 8. Legal Responsibilities <ul><li>NSW and Victorian legislation is clear on the issue – agency is employer </li></ul><ul><li>The host employer shares a duty of care to on-hire employees as they would to any contractor or visitor </li></ul><ul><li>NSW – Section 8(2) of the OHS Act </li></ul><ul><li>VIC – Section 23 of the OHS Act </li></ul>
    9. 9. Precedents <ul><li>Numerous precedents have been established which give effect to the relationship between an agency and a host employer </li></ul><ul><li>Select Australasia / SITA Australia / Mitsubishi Motors </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated Group / Western Salt Refinery </li></ul>
    10. 10. Minimising your risk <ul><li>OHS Management Systems </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluating Host Employer </li></ul><ul><li>Job matching </li></ul><ul><li>Induction </li></ul><ul><li>Establishing Responsibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Consultation </li></ul><ul><li>Incident / Injury Management </li></ul>
    11. 11. OHS Management Systems <ul><li>Agencies should assess host employers OHSMS and the general working environment in unison </li></ul><ul><li>Establish if the OHSMS is implemented or just another folder sitting on a shelf </li></ul><ul><li>Develop an agency OHSMS capable of adapting to all employment categories to which labour hire is provided </li></ul><ul><li>Benchmark the host employer’s OHSMS with your own </li></ul><ul><li>If the host employer’s OHSMS does not meet your own standards, don’t provide labour </li></ul>
    12. 12. Evaluating the Host Employer <ul><li>Never send an on-hire employee to a host employer that has not had a proper on-site evaluation and current workplace inspection checklist </li></ul><ul><li>Perform evaluations at least every three months or if there are changes to equipment, processes, or incident / injury reported, etc (can be more regularly if indicated) </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate ALL risks associated with the tasks to be performed </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate ALL risks with a potential to impact the on-hire employee </li></ul><ul><li>In the case of multiple employment arrangements, always check the contractual risk management arrangements in place </li></ul>
    13. 13. Evaluating the Host Employer <ul><li>Ensure that checklists remain up-to-date with the workplace </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure that checklists are highly specific to the tasks to be performed </li></ul><ul><li>Have the host employer accompany and sign-off on each completed checklist </li></ul><ul><li>Document the details of any onsite training the on-hire employee is to receive </li></ul>
    14. 14. Job Matching <ul><li>Ensure agency employees possess the correct skills, qualifications and experience for the role </li></ul><ul><li>Requires an intimate knowledge of the role (don’t take the host employer’s word for it) </li></ul><ul><li>Requires a process for checking the validity of agency employee’s skills, qualifications and references </li></ul><ul><li>Has the employee’s physical (and mental) capacity been assessed? </li></ul><ul><li>Increased focus given ageing workforce / labour shortages </li></ul>
    15. 15. PE Testing - Supporting research <ul><li>Rosenblum & Shankar (2006) investigated the effects of pre-employment physical screening in injury development specific to musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) of the knees, shoulders and back amongst workers in physically demanding jobs. Results found that: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- There was a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of MSD in the screened employee population </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- Non-screened employees were 2.4 times more likely to experience a MSD than screened hires and incurred 4.3 times higher cost of claims </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Harbin & Olson (2005) investigated the benefits of pre-employment functional screening on injury rates in a food processing plant and found that employees who’s capacity was mismatched were twice as likely to sustain a musculoskeletal injury and that capacity matching through functional testing produced a dramatic fall in workers compensation costs relating to injury severity. A further study revealed that this testing produced significant reductions in lost time and subsequent premium costs </li></ul>
    16. 16. Induction <ul><li>Agency should become actively involved in the host employer’s induction process </li></ul><ul><li>Organise with the host employer to test the on-hire employee post workplace induction </li></ul><ul><li>Perform a pre-employment induction specific to the workplace </li></ul><ul><li>Make induction competency based </li></ul><ul><li>This induction should include information about the level of induction the host employer should provide </li></ul><ul><li>Teach employees to self-induct (OHSMS knowledge; risk assessment procedures) </li></ul><ul><li>Employee to contact agency immediately if the induction is not completed fully or new tasks are added </li></ul>
    17. 17. Establish Responsibilities <ul><li>Make all parties accountable – define the OHS responsibilities using achievable/measurable targets </li></ul><ul><li>All parties should formally acknowledge their responsibilities in writing </li></ul><ul><li>Contracts involving multiple entities/employers should establish exactly who is responsible for what </li></ul><ul><li>For tasks involving specialised equipment and plant, the host employer should be required to provide a “buddy” </li></ul>
    18. 18. Consultation <ul><li>Support a very high level of communication around OHS issues with your host employers </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure that all on-hire employees are included in a workgroup with an HSR who will visit the site regularly </li></ul><ul><li>Build consultation arrangements into workplace inspections and reviews </li></ul><ul><li>Active communication between agency HSRs and host employer HSRs should be encouraged + documented </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure on-hire employees are represented under the host employer’s HSRs and consultation arrangements </li></ul><ul><li>Host employers should by default include all contractors, visitors, temporary employees under their consultation arrangements </li></ul>
    19. 19. When an Incident Occurs <ul><li>Agencies should involve experienced personnel in the investigation process of all incidents and injuries in consultation with host employer </li></ul><ul><li>Review documented host employer incident response procedures – do they include on-hire employees in their reporting? </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage host employers to keep incident data for on-hire employees for information gathering purposes </li></ul><ul><li>All on-hire employees should be encouraged to report any incidents or OHS related issues to both the agency and host employer – cover this in induction </li></ul><ul><li>Incident triggers review of workplace checklists </li></ul>
    20. 20. When an Injury Occurs <ul><li>Prior to placement of employees, negotiate the provision of suitable duties with host employers in the event of injury </li></ul><ul><li>Assess the host employer’s willingness to be involved in RTW processes </li></ul><ul><li>Incentivise host employers to offer suitable duties by offering the services of injured employees at no cost </li></ul><ul><li>Remember that the way in which a host employer treats injured employees will tell you a lot about the way that organisation does business generally </li></ul>
    21. 21. Think Before You Act <ul><li>Brief Exercise </li></ul><ul><li>All participants will be provided with an account of a labour hire agencies arrangements with a host employer </li></ul><ul><li>What is wrong with the current situation </li></ul><ul><li>Five minutes to complete </li></ul>
    22. 22. How can we help at Konekt? <ul><li>OHS Consulting – understand your legal responsibilities, development of screening process to assist in selection of suitable Host Employers </li></ul><ul><li>Risk Assessment – identifying and assessing risks including negotiating risk minimisation strategies and / or training agency staff to complete same effectively </li></ul><ul><li>Induction – assist Agencies develop and implement appropriate induction program for employees addressing issues such as knowledge of OHSMS (both agency and host employer); risk assessment procedures; manual handling; individual key OHS responsibilities </li></ul>
    23. 23. How can we help continued….. <ul><li>Pre-employment Screening – minimise injury risk through effective job matching of employees to specific work tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Early Injury Management – minimise lost time and encourage early return to work for all injured employees (same employer or redeployment) + assistance with incident investigations </li></ul>
    24. 24. <ul><li>QUESTIONS? </li></ul>