Winter is often a time when the opportunity to gain casual work increases, as companies look to meet the demands of the festive season and beyond. They may take on these staff using a variety of means, but this mix of recruitment methods can cause confusion for workers if something goes wrong. Here, we make sense of the position for casual workers having to deal with the repercussions of an accident at work.
How do health and safety laws apply to casual workers?
When a business takes on staff directly, and an agency is not involved, the worker is classed as an employee. This means that the company is responsible for their health and safety- it does not matter that they are only there temporarily.
Some workers are placed by a recruitment agency, which then ends its involvement. This too means that the company is responsible for their health and safety.
If the worker is only with the company for a set period, and their contract means that they will then return to the recruitment agency for further work, they are classed as a temporary worker. In this case, the agency is responsible for health and safety matters.
The definition as to what constitutes a temporary worker is complex enough to warrant an article of its own- but generally, most cases fall into one of the above classifications. If your situation differs or you are unsure- seek legal advice as soon as you can.
As you can see, the company bears the responsibility in most cases. It must therefore treat all workers in the same way, ensuring the safety of all of them. An agency is not absolved of any responsibility at all- they are still under a duty to take ‘reasonable steps’ in identifying and controlling risks.
What should I do if there is an accident?
Details of the accident should be recorded as soon as possible. Where a company is responsible for a worker, there is a statutory duty upon them to report certain incidents under RIDDOR.
In all cases, the worker should note down as many details as possible, as close to the timing of the accident as possible.
As with any case, approach a legal expert as soon as you can. If the company has not done all it could to inform you of the risks associated with the work, and you have been injured, get in contact.
We have specialist solicitors with experience in dealing with accidents at work and they can advise you on your prospects of bringing a claim against your employer and/or agency.. We will do everything within our power to achieve the best outcome as quickly as possible.
Our teams can assist with all aspects of an accident at work case- to speak to our personal injury and employment departments call 0113 284 5000 today.