Labour hire can be an excellent way to maintain a flexible workforce, but remember there are some significant health and safety matters to note.
If you engage a worker from a labour-hire company, you must not direct or allow that worker to carry out Class A licensed asbestos removal work unless they are appropriately trained for the work.
You may, however, engage a labour-hire worker to carry out supervised Class B asbestos removal work, but the worker is restricted to a maximum of four weeks of asbestos removal work in any 12-month period.
For example, if the worker has done three weeks for another company, they would be able to work a maximum of one week on your job before being required to undertake class B worker training.
Asbestos assessors and accredited labs
The information below clarifies our position on the application of regulation 11 (the duty to analyse samples) in reference to clearance certification and inspection:
The application of regulation 11 happens at the time a PCBU suspects and wishes to confirm the presence of asbestos. The regulation requires that an IANZ accredited laboratory must do sampling analysis. The results enable a PCBU to make decisions on management, such as developing an asbestos management plan for their workplace or potential removal.
In contrast, regulation 43 requires air monitoring during Class A removal work, and so the removalist already knows where the asbestos is located. Air monitoring is essential for detecting any airborne fibres outside the enclosed removal area. An independent, competent person must carry out the air monitoring. Note: after 4 April 2018, this person must be a licenced assessor.
While it’s possible to interpret that regulation 11 applies to air monitoring, we have not taken a position either way at this stage. Regulation 43 does not require using an IANZ laboratory, but it does expect the PCBU undertaking the air monitoring to establish the reliability of their air monitoring results.
The main question about regulation 43 is ‘how can you provide your clients with suitable assurance that they can reasonably rely on your analysis and advice’? You could answer this any number of ways, but accreditation provides one straightforward way for your client to have assurance of the air monitoring result.
The Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulation 2016 does not mandate the use of an IANZ accredited laboratory in relation to regulation 43
It does expect that you provide your clients results that are reliable – how you do this is up to you, and using an accredited lab to analyse air monitoring samples is one.