Why You Need to Worry about Subbies

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Emma Bentton was interviewed by EzyAccess.net about the potential risks of subcontractors with no WHS training.

The original article can be found here

In this post we want to explore the ramifications of having a sub-contractor who hasn’t undergone any WHS training working on your premises. To this end, we spoke to Emma Bentton, a Work Health and Safety expert and Director of Systems on a Shoestring, a company that launched a series of WHS mobile apps for small businesses.

When a Subbie has No Induction

Sub-contracting is a pretty common occurrence, particularly in the construction industry. But the danger occurs when a sub-contractor arrives at a site to complete a job, and hasn’t been given any formal induction or WHS training.

Time was, that sub-contractor was an island, an entity unto himself. If he was injured during a job, it was mostly his problem. If the sub-contractor didn’t have health and accident insurance, the school of thought among other contractor was that it wasn’t their problem.

The WHS Act 2011

The new WHS Act 2011, which came into play in January 2012, changes that; the Act now makes it that other contractor’s problem. It also makes it the problem of the person who owned the site the sub-contractor was working at, including relevant officers and directors within the company.

“Now, everyone in that chain of command can be held accountable,” Systems on a Shoestring Director, Emma Bentton says.

Emma cites one particular case involving the death of a labour-for-hire worker and the RTA. The labour-for-hire worker was originally contracted to work for the RTA driving a water-spray truck, but because of inclement weather he was instead assigned by the RTA to work as a grass-cutter.

“Sadly, the labour-for-hire worker was killed, and because the RTA changed his job, which he hadn’t been given WHS training for, they were held responsible for his death,” Emma tells us. “And so was the labour-hire company.”

Even though the labour-hire company wasn’t consulted in the decision to assign the worker to grass cutting, he was still employed by the labour-hire company, who were ultimately paying his wages. The labour-hire company didn’t do their due diligence to ensure the worker’s safety while he was working at different companies.

Under the new WHS laws, a business owner, officer or any other person who has the ability to influence decision-making processes can be—and in many cases, have been—held accountable.


This is why WHS should be a major priority for all businesses. With a system like Access ID’s vendor credentialing system, every contractor, sub-contractor and other visitors to your site are credentialed to ensure they’ve had all the necessary WHS training for the job they’re going to carry out. Your contractors and sub-contractors are safe, and so are you.

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