Agency and temporary staff working for a business are exposed to the same health and safety hazards as the businesses’ own employees. Because managers direct and control the work. Agency and temporary staff are as much a part of the workforce as the permanent staff. Employers must therefore take account of their safety whilst at work and make sure that they are included within their safety management arrangements.

In health and safety law it is not the pay or tax arrangements that determines whether a person is an employee or not. Over the years the courts have interpreted the employer/employee relationship in terms of control. A person who controls the work of others, provides the plant, premises and equipment for the work activity and determines how and when the work is to be done is an employer.

Wherever there is an employer/employee relationship Health and Safety legislation requires employers to protect the health and safety of all ‘employees’ working for them. They must provide relevant training (or check that the workers are adequately trained) and provide a safe place of work, safe plant and equipment, and supervision for all workers whatever their status. The duty extends to posts that are temporary or time limited.

See also: Employee.