Labour hire workers are workers employed and paid by a company which then sends them to work elsewhere - to carry out the majority of their tasks or functions for a 'host' or 'client company' and usually under that host company's direction. Labour hire workers can also be called 'on-hire workers', 'temps'and the more generic 'contractor'.
Australia has a growing percentage of the workforce that is employed under such arrangements. There is a fair amount of evidence, and experience in the 'field' that such workers are not adequately represented in OHS, and are at a greater risk of injury or illness than permanent workers.
To identify OHS issues concerning on-hired workers, WorkSafe Victoria commissioned a report reviewing local and international OHS guidance material and WorkSafe claims data. Some of the international findings from the report are that in many circumstances on-hire workers are particularly vulnerable to health and safety risks because they are:
- less experienced due to younger age
- exposed to greater work intensification pressures
- exposed to greater risks, generally
- less able to have discretion in the way tasks are performed
- less represented at workplaces
- more frequently exposed to unfamiliar workplaces
- less likely to receive workplace specific training and induction
- less qualified