Temporary workers and Health & Safety: Your obligations

As Christmas gets closer, you might be looking to get temporary workers in to help cover the busy period. But in the rush to get things ready, some workplaces find it hard to navigate what to do to protect temporary workers – whether at Christmas or any other time of year.

So, here’s a handy recap of what you need to keep in mind. The key is to remember that if they’re employed (even casually), then Health & Safety law still applies.

Each workplace is different, as is the level of risk, so this list isn’t exhaustive. But, as a minimum, we recommend:

Make sure that they’ve received a basic Health & Safety induction, covering your Health & Safety policy, emergency items like fire, first aid, rest areas, health screening, hazard and accident reporting, and where to get Health & Safety advice if they need it.

Provide basic training relating to the tasks they’re doing, like manual handling. If you’re using an agency to fulfil specific roles, check that they’ve given you records of the person’s competence. Keep records of any training given and get the worker to sign to confirm understanding.

Risk/CoSHH assessments
Provide the workers with risk/CoSHH assessments relevant to their work and make sure they understand the controls required and behaviours expected. Keep records that you’ve done this.

Work equipment
Check that work equipment provided is safe to operate and that workers are suitably and sufficiently trained and competent to operate it.

Provide suitable and sufficient supervision to temporary workers as they may not be as familiar with the tasks you’re expecting them to undertake.

Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
In 2022, there were changes made to the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations (PPER 2022).

Put simply, PPER 2022 includes a definition of ‘workers’ which largely replaces the term ‘employee’ with ‘worker’ throughout the regulations.

So, your responsibilities haven’t changed towards those on a direct contract of employment, but now a broader number of people may fall into the category of ‘worker’ – and so if you’re contracting or engaging them to undertake works on a personal basis, you may need to provide PPE.

For those who are genuinely self-employed, there’s no requirement for the person contracting the work to provide them with PPE.

If you are sourcing workers through an agency, you will need to establish who is providing the PPE in advance. Workers can’t work without PPE if your risk assessment says it’s necessary.

Any questions? Give us a call!
If you’ve got any questions about this or any other Health & Safety matter, call your 24/7 Health & Safety advice line on 0345 844 4848 and we’ll be happy to chat them through with you.

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