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Do you know your PPE obligations when you hire contractors?

by , 01 August 2014
You know you have to give personal protective equipment (PPE) to your employees. But do you know what you have to do when you hire outside contractors?

The labour broker hired them so surely they count as the broker's employees and not yours.

Wishful thinking unfortunately. You still have the same OHS obligations to contractors that you have to employees you hired directly and this includes giving them PPE. Here's why...

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You must give outside contractors PPE

 
The OHS Act says the employer is responsible for the safety of their employees. When you hire outside contractors, you're the employer. The broker might send you the workers, but you're still the one employing them.
 
This means you need to protect them with protective clothing just like you do with any other employee.
 
But it can become difficult giving contracted workers safety wear because they're always coming and going. 
 
This could result in employees wondering off with your company's PPE and you can't get it back.
 
So this is what you should do to control the PPE you give to your contracted employees.
 

Here's how to control the PPE you have to give to contractors

 
If you use the same workers each time, this problem is easier to solve. You can take back their PPE when there's a break in the contract. You can then return it to them when they come back to work. 
 
This means you'll need a storage place for the PPE and each worker should have his own storage bin.
 
This way you can be use even if there's a break in your contract with the labour broker, the workers never leave with your PPE.
 
Just remember to tell your labour broker you want the same employees each time. This'll save you needing to refit new workers for their own safety gear.
 
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