Labour Hire – Liability for Unsafe Equipment Supplied by a Host

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Labour Hire – Liability for Unsafe Equipment Supplied by a Host

Using labour hire creates its own problems. An employer has a non-delegable duty to exercise reasonable care to provide employees with a safe system of work and safe plant and equipment.

However, when an employer entrusts its employees to another and places that employee on hire to work for another business, the employer will not escape liability for injury to the employee however the host may well pick up the lion’s share of liability for that accident.

The New South Wales Court of Appeal in Galea v Bagtrans and Adecco confirmed that

where an employer trusts another with tasks of providing the employee with the place and/or system of work, and/or with plant and equipment, the employer will generally be vicariously liable for failure by that other person to exercise reasonable care in those matters.”

Significantly, the Court of Appeal in Galea’s case held that the non-delegability of an employer’s duty means the employer is liable for any breach of duty of the host effectively imposing a strict liability on the employer.

If the host breaches its duty owed to the labour hire employee, the employer will be vicariously liable for the failure by that other person to exercise reasonable care.

Unsafe equipment supplied by a host will create a liability for the host as well as the employer.

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