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Health & safety guidelines for temp workers

On-Hire Forum produces health & safety guidelines for temp workers

A forum of recruitment companies, unions, and government agencies has produced health and safety guidelines for the protection of temporary workers that will be launched today.

The chairman of the On-Hire Safer Industry Forum, Balan Pillay, said the use of temp workers had grown rapidly, but a framework that would ensure they were properly protected had not existed till now.

The On-Hire Safer Industry Forum was established with funding from ACC. It is the eleventh Safer Industries group established by ACC to tackle high injury risk industries.

Its members include the Recruitment & Consulting Services Association (RCSA), the NZ Council of Trade Unions, the Occupational Safety and Health Service and ACC.

Mr Pillay said the "temping" industry faced unique injury prevention challenges, especially where workers were placed at short notice and short-term into high-risk industries.

"Creating guidelines for temporary employees has been no small challenge given the large range of organisations employing them and their dispersed locations. The guidelines were a substantial initiative that could only be completed because the On-Hire forum members saw their importance and worked hard to achieve them”, Mr Pillay said.

"The forum had its first meeting in October last year. I think everyone has been surprised at just how well a grouping of such different stakeholders had jelled together to produce these guidelines which have relevance not just to the recruitment companies but also to their clients and the employees that are 'on-hired' to their workplaces."

James Cozens, RCSA New Zealand President, agrees.

"Although each group had differing views, we were all certain that you cannot put a price on the cost of someone going home in the same shape as he or she left," he said.

"It was so important that we focused on this significant employment sector and we are delighted that these guidelines have been achieved.”

Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson said workplace health and safety initiatives needed the involvement of experienced workers and union leaders from within the sector to succeed.

“The CTU welcomes this initiative and looks forward to working with ACC to ensure effective union involvement in this injury prevention programme, for a sector that needs a lot of work to improve health and safety,” Ross Wilson said.

The guidelines will be officially launched by the Minister for ACC, the Hon Ruth Dyson, at a ceremony at 4.30 pm, October 15 at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

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