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Injured at work whilst employed through a labour hire company?

It is quite common practice for employers to hire workers through a labour hire company. These workers may be employed part-time, casual or on a fixed-term basis. Many industries, particularly construction, manufacturing and mining rely on labour hire companies. It is favoured by many employers (the host employer) as it allows them to scale up or down their workforce quickly depending on business needs. Further, it avoids the employment obligations that come with employing a worker full-time or part-time (including Workcover insurance coverage).If an accident/injury occurs, who can a worker claim against if they are injured at work? Is it the labour hire/recruitment company, or the host employer?

Labour hire companies are required to have appropriate workers’ compensation insurance and consequently, the labour hire company is considered the ‘employer’ of the worker. Therefore, a worker can claim against the labour hire company’s workers’ compensation insurance policy for injuries sustained while working for the host employer.There is another option to claim compensation for workers who are injured while on placement with a host employer.Queensland’s personal injury (PIPA) law allows labour hire company workers to make claims against host employers for personal injury suffered in the workplace, provided the injury was the result of unlawful or negligent conduct on the part of that employer.If a worker sustains an injury as a result of negligence by an employer or one of its employees, in addition to eligibility for workers’ compensation, a worker may also be able to make a common law claim.

This claim may be made against either the labour hire company or the host employer. In order to prove that another person was negligent in causing the injury, it must be proved that the employer (or its employees) first breached a duty of care and that their failure to do so resulted in the worker’s injury.Working out whether an employer owed a duty of care and was negligent involves a detailed process of investigation (including medical opinion regarding the injury). These issues and investigations can be complex and requires the expertise of experienced compensation lawyers like AMK Lawyers.