A farm where backpackers worked had no toilets: they worked a 13-hour day without access to a toilet. The backpacker felt it was the responsibility of the labour-hire agency (that sent the workers to the farm) to make sure the workplace adequate facilities for workers.
He didn’t feel like he could raise the matter with his employer, as he had just started working for them.
He was also concerned that the other workers, many from non-English speaking backgrounds, would be unlikely to complain or know about WHS requirements.
What were the safety issues?
The labour-hire agency’s operations manager had conducted pre-site visits before they sent workers to the workplace, so she was unable to explain why toilets were not provided for workers at this particular worksite.
How was this problem fixed?
The labour-hire manager arranged for toilets to be in place before work began the next day.
What can you do?
The Managing the Work Environment and Facilities code of practice will help you identify what facilities are needed for workers, including toilets and handwashing. It includes an extensive checklist for auditing your workplace.
Our March 2016 edition of Workplace Issues magazine had a feature on managing the safety of labour-hire workers, whether you’re the agency providing them or the workplace using them.
If you need further help understanding facilities for workers in your workplace, talk to our Helpline or request a free visit from one of our Safety Advisors.