Agency workers are usually considered to be ‘Workers’ and not ‘Employees’, but do you know how many hours they are working for you?
There is nothing to prevent an Agency Worker from having more than one placement, which may be with more than one Agency. They could be working more than the 12 hours in any 24 hour period at more than one place of work. If this is the case and they are coming to your premises having already worked 12 hours elsewhere, what will their concentration levels be like?
All workers, including agency staff, have the right to not work more than 48 hours a week unless they choose to sign an opt out agreement to do so. However, regardless of whether or not they have signed an agreement, the law dictates that over a 17 week period an Employee or Agency Worker can not work on average more than 48 hours a week. This can make it difficult to manage Agency Workers time and ensure that you are complying with the Working Time Regulations. Further information can be found here: Maximum weekly working hours: Overview – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
If the Agency Worker is fatigued and is operating machinery or working in a high risk area, are you putting your own employees at risk of injury as well as the Agency Worker injuring themselves. They may also cause damage to the premises or machinery that they are working with, which again will cause problems for the business in down time and production.
As the Agency Worker has no loyalty to one particular company, they are more likely to claim in the event of an incident as they know they won’t have to return. If this is the case, the claim will investigated by your Insurers and the subsequent claims costs will sit on your claims experience, which may affect future premiums.
It is important therefore to have a system of check at induction of the Agency Worker to confirm if they do have another position elsewhere, they are only allowed to work a maximum of 12 hours in total for all placements and to have this documented. If a claim later occurs due to their fatigue and it transpires that they have been working longer hours, it will give Insurers the ability to defend the claim.
If you feel you would like to talk to us in more detail about this, please get in touch on 01302 341 344.
By Martin Singleton Dip CII – Account Executive