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Health and safety for temporary staff

  • Blog
  • 05 March 2018

When you hire temporary staff for your business, for example to help during a busy period or stand in for an employee while on leave, you have a duty to keep them safe. You’re responsible for their health and safety – just as you are  with your permanent employees.

With a lot to think about, we aim to explain what to keep in mind when it comes to providing health and safety for your temporary staff.

Health and safety for temporary staff

Risk assessments and role requirements

A big part of business health and safety is conducting a risk assessment of areas within your company. While you should have already carried one out, it’s important to also assess the risks associated with the kind of work your temporary staff will be doing. This includes conducting a risk assessment to observe specific processes, the areas they’ll work in, and the equipment and machinery they’ll use. You can learn more about how to carry one out in our guide to risk assessment.

Once you’ve completed your risk assessment, you should make sure both the temporary worker and their agency are aware of the risks you’ve observed in that line of work. They should also be aware of the requirements needed to do the job safely. These include:

  • Qualifications and experience doing work
  • Training to use machinery or equipment
  • Knowledge of processes or systems
  • Requirements of the role, such as working long hours and specific skills

Induction, training and equipment

Induction – When you hire temporary staff, you should give them an induction before they start work. This includes providing them with crucial information, like your site rules and company procedures, and giving them a tour of the premises. This should involve showing them things like where your first aid kit is kept and where to go in the event of fire.

Training – It’s your responsibility to provide your temporary staff with adequate and sufficient training that ensures they can work safely. Training should be done for free and in working hours. It could range from manual handling training to carry stock without causing a back injury, to more advanced training to safely use machinery.

Equipment – You should provide all staff with the equipment they need to do their job safely. This could include personal protective equipment (PPE), such as  safety gloves and goggles, which might be necessary if they’re working with hazardous substances. Protective equipment like this should be the right fit for them and be provided without a fee. You can learn more about what you might need to provide in our article, ‘How do I provide safety equipment for my staff?

Accidents and reporting  

Every business is required to have an accident book, which allows all staff to record accidents, no matter how small. Your business should have one and make sure your temporary staff know about it. It’s a good idea to explain the book to them as part of their induction process, and make sure they know when to use it and how to fill it in. 

If a temporary staff member form an external agency is seriously injured while working at your premises, it’s your responsibility to inform their employer as soon as possible. You should also comply with the law, RIDDOR – Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations – and report the incident to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). You can do this on the RIDDOR website, www.hse.gov.uk/riddor, or by calling the HSE Incident Contact Centre. A report should also be submitted within ten days of the incident happening.

Ensuring your temporary staff are safety-conscious  

While there are many rules you should follow when hiring temporary staff, it’s important to mention that they also have a responsibility for their own health and safety, as well as the people around them. You should remind them of this, make sure they follow your company rules and regulations and cooperate in any training you give. They should also be told to inform you if the equipment you provide gets lost or damaged, or if they have any health and safety concerns about the work they’re doing.

Helping you provide health and safety for all your staff

Ensuring the safety of each member of staff you hire, whether full time, part time or temporary, is essential when running a business. From carrying out risk assessments to training to use your equipment, there’s a lot to consider, so it’s wise to get professional help and support where you can.

With our expert health and safety services, we can provide you with the right help and support that allows you to focus on what you do best – running your business. The FSB Health and Safety Service includes:

  • Fact sheets and documents, including for carrying out risk assessments and accident reporting
  • Health and safety advice from experts via our Legal Advice helpline
  • A suite of online training modules for all your staff

If you’re looking to hire temporary staff for your business, and are interested in finding out more about how our service can help you, please take a look at our FSB Health and Safety Advice web page. The service is included as standard with our Business Essentials package. Please visit our package comparison page or speak to a member of our team to find out about the benefits of this package and others. 

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