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Temporary and Agency Workers Need Health and Safety Protections

Mon, 14 May 2018 15:46

A logistics company was recently fined £373,000 after a worker suffered crush injuries while unloading a visiting lorry. An agency worker was unchaining a vehicle ramp from a delivery van when it moved forward with a chain still attached, crushing the worker between the ramp and a barrier.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the company had not adequately controlled the risks associated with the unloading ramps and the unloading procedures. Nor had they given sufficient training to workers on their role, and visiting drivers were not given adequate training on their obligations while on site.

ERIKS Industrial Services pleaded guilty to an offence under Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The HSE inspector Tim Underwood said: "This incident could have been avoided if the company had created a more detailed risk assessment and introduced a fully considered safe system of work. Removing the visiting lorry driver's keys until the procedure was safely completed, is one such method which could have prevented such an occurrence.

"Companies have a responsibility to provide sufficient information, instruction and training to all those involved in workplace transport operations (including visiting delivery drivers), in order to control the risk of serious personal injury."

Protecting visitors and temporary workers

This case is a reminder of the different categories of people that health and safety policies must protect. Policies and action plans often focus on employees, but companies also have a duty to protect other visitors, such as contractors, agency workers, delivery personnel and other visitors who may spend a few hours or a few minutes on your premises.

The Health and Safety Executive recommends that companies discuss health and safety issues with external contractors so that people are aware of the risks and understand the correct procedures to follow while on site.

Clearly, a challenge for any organisation is how to brief visitors on the essentials, without introducing unnecessary hurdles or reducing productivity. A risk assessment is clearly the place to start. From there, organisations can consider how best to manage the risks in a way that is appropriate.

Work with partners to address safety risks

Where serious risks exist, such as with machinery operators and manual handlers, it might make sense to liaise with the partner organisation to create a plan for briefing all drivers – including temporary and agency workers – on appropriate safety processes.

For general on-site visitors, it might be simpler to incorporate safety messages into a site induction, or attach messages to welcome emails or meeting invitations. Reception teams could point out important safety messages – or add them to the reverse of ID badges.

Regular training is always a core component of a robust health and safety regime. Organisations also have to consider how they will provide training for new and temporary workers. This can be particularly challenging in companies with regular staff turnover, or lots of transient workers. A flexible eLearning solution is one way to ensure that staff are aware of their role in staying safe, and it can be delivered quickly, conveniently and at a low cost.

Contact DeltaNet to learn more about our health and safety eLearning modules, which can be delivered as off-the-shelf solutions, or built around your specific needs.

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