Persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) can now access a guide outlining their duties as a labour hiring agency or host. Under model Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws, PCBUs must ensure the health and safety of all their workers — including labour hire workers — so far as reasonably practicable. These duties cannot be contracted out of or transferred to another party. To help labour hirers and hosts understand their WHS responsibilities before and during labour hire, Safe Work Australia released the guide in August 2019, which includes advice and examples of good practice.
In the guide, labour hire and host PCBUs are called to work together to identify and manage hazards and risks; confirm how the work will be carried out and whether any safe work methods are or should be in place; ensure selected workers are competent, licensed and qualified for the job; and agree on their respective roles in responding to an incident. During worker engagement, both PCBUs should encourage workers to maintain contact with the hire company, providing feedback on health and safety matters and raising safety issues if they feel the host PCBU has not made an appropriate response. In cases where a labour hire worker has a reasonable concern that their work could expose them to a serious health or safety risk, they can stop or refuse to complete it, according to the guide. PCBUs must not discriminate against them for exercising this right or any others afforded under the model WHS Act.
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