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Casual workers

Casual workers can be employed directly by an employer or via a labour hire agency. In general terms, you should treat every casual worker as if they were one of your full-time workers.

The nature of casual work makes especially vulnerable from a health and safety perspective. For example, if effective information systems are not in place, casual workers can miss out on crucial advice about newly assessed risks or new safety procedures.

Factors to consider before casual workers start work

Whether there are any special needs of the casual worker(s) that will need to be taken into consideration to ensure their health and safety   
A risk management process for the casual worker(s) is carried out i.e.:
  1. Identify any hazards (things or processes) that could cause injury or harm to the worker(s)
  2. Assess the risks of injury or harm from the hazards you have identified. This includes:
    • assessing the previous level of experience and training of the workers for the work tasks to be performed
    • considering whether the risks will be increased because of inexperienced casual workers working together
  3. Develop and implement safety measures to eliminate or reduce the risks of injury or harm
The risks associated with shift work or periods of extended working hours have been addressed   
Have you and your customers agreed about what to do if requirements can't be met? If requirements can not be met, the delivery or collection should not be conducted  
Where a worker will be required to work alone at a workplace and/or in isolated areas, there is a procedure for checking they are okay and a way for them to call for help in emergencies. See remote or isolated work for further information   
Depending on the worker and the type of work, time will be provided for them to adapt to the tasks and the job demands   

During a casual worker's period of employment

That the worker understands the safe work procedures and other safety instructions. This should be done regularly and, where needed, refresher training should be provided or safety discussions held to reinforce important safety messages   
There is adequate supervision to see that work is being done safely   
Time is provided for the worker to adapt to the job demands   
Where a worker is working alone and may not have contact with anybody, particularly in isolated areas, they are able to work safely and have a means of communication and procedures for making contact   
Working hours are monitored to review whether workers are at increased risk of acute sleep deprivation, fatigue or other risks   
Injuries and near misses involving casual workers are investigated to see if changes need to be made to work practices and/or safety procedures   
Casual workers are consulted when there are changes in work processes or new machinery added to the workplace that could affect their safety and are informed when the change is made. Training should be provided as required   

Sample induction list:

Induction should cover the following basic WHS items:

  • job description –what is expected of the role, who to report to, tasks to be done, hours of work
  • workplace layout/tour –location of facilities, first aid, emergency equipment
  • health and safety provisions –including any safety representatives, consultation process, requirement to report incidents/injuries/damaged equipment
  • specific task-based training for individual jobs/tasks
  • any specific policies such as reporting requirements, workplace bullying, discrimination, safety related issues
  • specific safety rules for the workplace e.g. hazardous substances not to be used without reading material safety data sheet and risk assessment
  • personal protective equipment requirement.