Guidance Note Work Health & Safety Obligations for

Guidance Note Work Health & Safety Obligations for

Guidance Note Work Health & Safety Obligations for Independent Contractors March 2015 Todays workforce is diverse Most organisations are engaging, will engage in the future or have engaged In the past, contracted workers to fulfil A specific business requirement. The worker may be engaged directly or indirectly (via a recruitment firm, for example). This Guidance Note: Outlines details about no contracting out. Confirms an Independent Contractors duties. This classification of workers, known as a Contractor or Independent Contractor has drawn the attention of the Regulators as part of the revised Australian WHS Model Laws. As a modern employment issue, this Guidance Note is a a practical resource to help employers and Independent Contractors to understand and administer their WHS obligations. Outlines the Regulators Expectations. Provides broad guidelines for administering and Monitoring Independent Contractors. It is a common myth that contracting out work also contracts the business out of their legal WHS responsibility, This is not the case. Revised WHS laws aims to remove confusion on who a business owes a duty of care. It clearly identifies the following as workers:

Employees Outworkers, apprentices, Trainees, Students gaining work experience, Volunteers, Contractors (including Independent Contractors), Subcontractors The PCBUs duty of care to an Independent Contractor under the model WHS Act cannot be transferred to another party by way of contract. In Victoria and WA, the employer is not able to include terms within a contract that attempt to transfer health and safety obligations on to another party. No contracting out is a core element of model WHS Act that directly aects the engagement of Independent Contractors. In practice, this means that a PCBU cannot use a contract to limit or modify their statutory obligations. An attempt made by a PCBU to transfer the PCBUs duty to an Independent Contractor via a contract, will cause that provision to be invalid. Although Victoria and WA have not adopted the model WHS Law, existing laws in these States does not enable an employer to contract out of statutory health and safety obligations simply by including terms in a contract that attempt to transfer those

obligations to another party. Whilst a PCBU who engages an Independent Contractor has a primary duty of care to the Contractor., it is just as important to be aware that as a Contractor, you have specific duties under the Model WHS Act, specifically Section 28 duties of workers! Take reasonable care for your own health and safety Comply with any policy or procedure the PCBU notifies to you relating to health and safety in the workplace. Contract or Duties Comply with any reasonable instruction given by the PCBU (for the purposes of the PCBU complying with a duty of the Act) Take reasonable care that your acts or omissions do not adversely aect the health and safety of others. If you have workers whilst retained by another PCBU, you are not absolved of your duty of care to your own workers and others in the workplace. This means that there may be complex and overlapping duties of care operating in the same

workplace. The application of identifying all duty holders and consulting, co-operating and co-ordinating health and safety activities is fundamental to duty holders complying with their duty of care. Maintain a work environment without risk to contractors health and safety The WHS law in each State and Territory in Australia is enforced by a Regulatory body. They take the lead role in the promotion and enforcement of health and safety in the applicable States/Territories workplaces. Broadly, the responsibilities of the Regulator include: Maintain safe systems of work aecting contractors Helping avoid workplace injuries occurring Enforcing WHS health and safety laws Each regulatory body has a team of Field Ocers (Inspectors) who attend workplaces and enquire into WHS breaches. Inspectors enquiring into Independent Contractor Management at a PCBUs workplace will be looking for evidence of the PCBUs process for managing the health and safety of Independent Contractors they retain. The evidence that the PCBU provides must link back and satisfy the elements of Primary Duty of Care. Provide contractors with adequate information, instruction, training and supervision to protect them from risks to health and

safety in work carried out for your business Consult, cooperate and coordinate with contractors on work health and safety matters PRIMARY DUTY OF CARE All contractors engaged to carry out work activities are protected and exposed to risk to their health and safety Monitor the work conditions and health of contractors whilst engaged to carry out work for your business There are many questions that will be asked by an Inspector when they are enquiring into a PCBUs management of Independent Contractors. These enquiries arehas made to determine whether the PCBU a safe system of work for the engagement of Independent Contractors. A PCBU would be expected to provide supporting evid provided to the Inspector.Below are common questions that would be asked by an Inspector enquiring into a PCBUs management of Independent Contractors...

Do you have a documented Contractor management procedure? Does the Does the procedure provide for monitoring of contractors to ensure compliance with (SWMS) and relevant legislative requirements? Does the Contractors competencies checked before starting work Is there Does the procedure provide for the assessment of the proposed Contractors WHS arrangements prior to their engagement? procedure require the contractor to conduct Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) for high risk construction work? Are the procedure provide for the induction of contractors, subcontractors and their employees? How do

a system for assessing the you assess whether Contractors suitability of Contractors are complying with SWMS and legislative requirements? equipment, material and substances? What Contractor consultation, co-operation and co-ordination arrangements are in place? How do Do you you deal with Contractor non-compliance? have a system for recording and following up on outcomes of inspections and audits? Select Contractors based on their expertise and health and safety record (e.g. applicable licenses). Obtain and review all relevant contractor documentation including competencies and safe work method statements (SWMS) (if applicable). Provide all Contractors

engaged to undertake work, with a health and safety induction prior to commencing work. Provide Contractors with information, instruction and training that is easy to understand and relevant to work that they are engaged to perform. Consult, co-operate and co-ordinate activities with Contractors and others involved in the work. Monitor work activities of Contractors to ensure their work activities are carried out in accordance with your Contractor management plan/ procedure and relevant WHS Act & Regulation provisions. The person/company engaging the Independent Contractor is the PCBU and the Contractor is Independent a worker of the PCBU. The PCBU owes a Primary Duty of Care to the Independent Contractor when theorPCBU: Directs inuences work carried out by the Independent Contractor

(including through subcontracting) Engages or causes to engage an Independent Contractor to carry out work Has management or control of a workplace. The PCBU must meet its obligations, so far as is reasonably practicable, to provide a safe and healthy workplace for Independent Contractors by ensuring: Safe systems of work A safe work environment Accommodation for workers, if provided, is appropriate. Safe use of plant, structures and substances Facilities for the welfare of workers are adequate Notification and recording of workplace incidents Adequate information, training, instruction and supervision is given Compliance with the requirements under the work health and safety regulation Eective systems are in place for monitoring the health of workers and workplace conditions. To fulfil the Primary Duty of Care when retaining an independent Contractor, the PCBU is required to develop, implement and Independent Contractor, Management System. In practice, this is a process that defines how an independent Contractor is selected, qualified and monitored. Determine and define responsibilities Identify persons in the business who will be involved in the management of the and define their roles and responsibilities within the Contractor management in the contractor management processContractor plan/procedure. Contractor Pre-Qualification Contractor Classification & Qualification Contractor Induction

Commencement of Work Monitoring and completion of Works Re-Qualification Develop a pre-qualification questionnaire detailing WHS criteria for Contractors to comply with in order to deliver services to your business. Establish a process to classify the type of work the pre-qualified Contractor will be undertaking within the scope of works and gather supporting information form the Contractor to demonstrate suitable experience and qualifications including licences, permits, registrations, and insurances as well as Safe Work Method Statements. The process should be completed by the Contract Manager and the pre-qualified Contractor. Develop an induction program and process specifically for Contractors. The process should ensure that inductions are delivered to Contractors prior to commencing work. Develop a process for Contractors to sign in/out at the site of works. There should also be a contact from the business for the Contractors to report to prior to works commencing to discuss the work to be performed. The process should also ensure that Contractors are required to review and amend Safe Work Method Statements prior to work commencing. The Contractor management plan/procedure should provide a process for a key stakeholder to monitor the works being undertaken by the Contractor and ensure a WHS non-compliance process. The Contractor management plan/process should address the requirements for regular requalification of Contractors.

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