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#1 Posted : 01 February 2001 09:58:00(UTC)
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Posted By nigel brough
We are a housing association who employ agency workers on a regular basis. Their trades range from bricklayers to typists.
Are we obliged to provide PPE or is this the responsibility of the Agency?
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#2 Posted : 01 February 2001 14:23:00(UTC)
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Posted By Ken Taylor
Strictly speaking it is the duty of the employer to provide the PPE unless the workers are self-employed and then it's their responsibility. However as you are in control of the work and the workplace it is also your duty to see that the work is undertaken safely and without risk, etc - which means you should not allow work to proceed if the risk assessment has identified the need for PPE and it is not being used. Practically, their is a need for an agreement on the provision of PPE and it may well be reasonable for you to issue this rather than the Agency.
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#3 Posted : 02 February 2001 12:56:00(UTC)
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Posted By Arran Linton - Smith
It is an interesting question that you have raised here, as it is not only the PPE which is an issue for agency workers, but there are also other key issues i.e.
Who is responsible for undertakes the Statutory duties under Section 2 of the HASAWA 1974?
Who undertakes the risk assessments for these workers?
Who is responsible for providing them with H&S training?
How is employee consultation undertaken?
Who is responsible for undertaking the RIDDOR reporting?
Do agencies assess their clients' H&S management arrangements before placing their workers?

There is currently a HSE Board research paper, which is a project to examine roles and responsibilities for the health and safety of agency workers. This can be viewed via http://www.hse.gov.uk/fo...ard/2000/papers/b261.htm This does also raise the question of PPE.

There is one paragraph in this document, I feel which sums up your question and I have pasted below.

The results of the research confirmed that the majority of agencies use a contract whereby agency workers are employed by the agency. This suggests that where health and safety legislation place duties on the ‘employer’, the agency is responsible for these duties. However, the research confirmed that in the vast majority of cases the host employer is perceived as being responsible for an agency worker’s health and safety. Employee status is determined by a court of law on a case by case basis. Where an agency pays an agency worker’s tax and National Insurance contributions, this alone is not conclusive evidence that the agency worker is an employee of the agency. Considerable confusion exists over whether an agency worker is an employee of the agency for health and safety purposes, or not. If not, who is responsible for an agency worker’s health and safety? And if so, is it practical for the agency to be responsible for all requirements under health and safety legislation?

This is an interesting HSE project, which is worth watching.
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#4 Posted : 02 February 2001 16:16:00(UTC)
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Posted By Bernard Angus
I advise a local authority and have arranged that in all Agency contracts we emphasise the Agencys' responsibility for their workers. However we also ensure that any Agency employees are contracted to attend our own safety induction training and to comply with OUR health and safety requirements. As has already been said, in many cases, to issue the Agency staff with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment, for the person who didn't know) alongside our own staff, would seem the best course of action.
Always better to prevent an accident than to argue afterwards who's fault it was. ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS ON YOUR OWN PROPERTY !
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#5 Posted : 02 February 2001 16:16:00(UTC)
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Posted By Martin
Can I offer this information that is extremely relevant to the issue discussed.

On 19th December 2000 The Director of Public Prosecutions announced that
Euromin and its general manager Richard Martell are to be prosecuted for the
manslaughter of Simon Jones. Simon was sent to work inside the hold of a
ship on his first day at work for Euromin and was dead within two hours.
Simon was killed on 24th April 1998. Since his death, Simon's family and
friends have campaigned for the circumstances surrounding Simon's death to
be the subject of court action. This campaign has involved shutting down
Euromin's dock, occupying the employment agency that sent Simon to work for
Euromin, occupying the Department of Trade and Industry, shutting down
Southwark Bridge outside the Health and Safety Executive, winning a judicial
review challenging the Crown Prosecution Service's decision not to prosecute
and, this September, picketing the CPS's headquarters in London over its
failure to prosecute.

In announcing his decision to prosecute Euromin and its general manager over
two and a half years after Simon's death, the Director of Public
Prosecutions said that his decision to prosecute "was reached without
unnecessary delay".

BACKGROUND
Simon Jones was killed on 24th April 1998, aged 24, on his first day as a casual worker at Shoreham dock - another victim of our growing casual labour economy. He was sent to work unloading cargo inside a ship - one of the most dangerous jobs in the country - with only a few minutes "training". Within hours of starting work his head was almost severed by the grab of a crane.

I think that everyone who employs agency staff should take note. If anyone would like further information please contact me.

(Extracts from web page) not my own words


Regards

Martin Knox TechSP MIIRSM


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