Gallagher workplace risk solution to gig workforce health and safety
Published 21 September 2021
On the basis of an existing relationship with national disability service provider Hireup, Gallagher undertook to provide risk management advice to meet significant growth in the number of support workers utilising the business’s digital platform.
Established in 2015, Hireup is Australia’s largest online network of disability support workers, with 7.5 million hours of support provided, and this number is expected to continue to grow exponentially.
This web-based platform connects support workers with people seeking disability support of any kind, from buying groceries to playing chess, to complex clinical support. Once a connection is established through the digital platform the person seeking support and the support worker meet either virtually or in person before entering into a support arrangement.
The user technology platform underpins Hireup’s business model, which differs from most gig economy operations in that Hireup directly employs workers as casuals, who receive e-Learning training which includes work, health and safety.
A remote workforce requires a virtual safety culture
With employee numbers projected to grow by thousands Hireup will need to meet the demands of increasing workforce numbers through strategic initiatives that capture accurate incident reporting, worker injury trends, targeted risk planning and effective consultation with stakeholders.
“Hireup sought a long-term partner to advise them how to best protect their workers and overall risk exposure in line with their growth, while ensuring that Hireup can manage their workplace risks through a simple, sustainable and flexible approach,” says Zac Mullane, Senior Consultant (Gallagher Workplace Risk).
Gallagher has partnered with Hireup since 2019 and assisted this client year-on-year in building up risk management capacity into the business operations, including
• keeping workers’ skills and knowledge around WHS processes current and competent
• building processes that increase internal risk management capabilities from incident data trends and analysis.
“Work health and safety and workers’ compensation needs fresh thinking and a flexible approach, which our team is aiming to deliver for Hireup,” Mullane says.
“Workforces are changing through interactions with technology, giving changing meaning to what a workplace actually represents. New concepts need to be designed into risk management frameworks that traditional solutions no longer solve.”
A plan to integrate risk management with technical interfaces
The Gallagher Workplace Risk team collaborated with the Hireup safety team to develop a 2 year work health and safety risk management plan that addresses key elements of the business including leadership, business culture, assurance and workforce education. Each element of the plan provides a detailed set of objectives to achieve in the coming years, enabling Hireup to prioritise risk controls, build up its reporting capabilities and verify its risk management outcomes through effective assurance and monitoring systems.
Gallagher co-designed a WHS risk management plan with Hireup that looks to address a number of work health and safety pillars, aligned to specific objectives including
• implementation of a WHS governance framework
• WHS consultation design and delivery through the platform
• building internal assurance checklists
• refining data capture from incidents, and more.
A Hireup risk and safety committee is monitoring these activities and communicating their progress to the board.
WHS tech-based model has broad applications to all workplaces
Mullane says that while building risk management at scale through technology is a requirement for the Hireup business model and other related gig-economy type workplaces, more industries and businesses are integrating and leveraging technology to be more efficient workplaces, both in productivity and safety.
“Health and safety processes need to be adapted to fast-changing and increasingly flexible workforces. Those are the processes and resources we are developing in partnership with Hireup - and our broader client network. As advisors, we need to be at the forefront of the changes, and drivers of it - so our clients can tackle their challenges with confidence,” he says.
To access our expertise in reducing workplace injuries and impacts in the workplace connect with our Workplace Risk specialism now.
Gallagher provides insurance, risk management and benefits consulting services for clients in response to both known and unknown risk exposures. When providing analysis and recommendations regarding potential insurance coverage, potential claims and/or operational strategy in response to national emergencies (including health crises), we do so from an insurance and/or risk management perspective.