October is National Safe Work Month. While health and safety should be acknowledged every day of the year, this month gives employers an opportunity to commit to building better workplaces for their employees.
Individuals, their families and communities are all impacted by work-related injuries or illness. Safe Work Australia data shows that around 169 people died while doing their job in 2021 and there were around 130,195 serious workers’ compensation claims made in 2020-21.
This year’s National Safe Work Month theme is For everyone’s safety, work safely.
Safe Work Australia has a range of information, resources and tools you can use to promote healthy and safe workplaces.
Occupational health and safety obligations in labour hire
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, hosts have the same occupational health and safety duties to labour hire workers as to any other employee.
Labour hire providers and hosts have shared responsibilities for worker health and safety, including:
- providing and maintaining a safe working environment
- assessing risks
- monitoring the health of employees
- monitoring conditions at the workplace.
They must also ensure the employee is capable and provided with everything they need to do the job safely.
These obligations are a joint effort between hosts and providers, and under the OHS Act they must consult, cooperate and coordinate with one other as much as reasonably practicable, to ensure all duties to labour hire workers are met.
Labour hire providers and host businesses also cannot pass their duties onto one or the other through a contract.
More information on OHS obligations is available on the WorkSafe website for:
Discuss health and safety with your team
Labour hire hosts and providers are encouraged to host a team event in October to discuss safety and wellbeing with their colleagues.
Morning teas can be a good opportunity to bring staff together and have an open discussion. Safe Work Australia has resources available to help employers develop these conversations.
Events for managers and employers
WorkSafe is also holding a range of events throughout Melbourne and regional Victoria in October. These events are hosted by experts on workplace health and safety and will help employers understand how they can ensure staff wellbeing.
Visit the WorkSafe website to learn more.