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Health and safety for temporary workers

Temporary workers enjoy the same level of protection as other workers in matters of health and safety at work. This Directive defines the rules concerning worker information, medical surveillance and corporate responsibility.


Council Directive 91/383/EEC of 25 June 1991 supplementing the measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of workers with a fixed-duration employment relationship or a temporary employment relationship [See amending act(s)].


The European health and safety at work standards apply to all workers, including temporary workers, whose employment relationships are defined by:

  • a fixed-duration contract concluded directly between an employer and a worker under which the end of the contract is determined by objective conditions (date, completion of a specific task, etc.);
  • a temporary employment contract concluded between a temporary employment business and a worker for the purpose of carrying out a task in an undertaking under its supervision.

Directive 89/391/EEC on health and safety at work and the sectoral directives (concerning manual handling, in particular) apply to this type of employment contract.

Informing workers

Before employment commences, the undertaking must inform the temporary worker of:

  • the occupational qualifications or skills required;
  • the special medical surveillance provided for by national legislation;
  • the specific risks that the job may entail.

Workers’ training

Before undertaking an activity, the temporary worker must receive training on the characteristics and risks of the job. This training must be adapted to the worker’s level of qualifications and professional experience.

Medical surveillance

European Union (EU) Member States may prohibit the recruitment of temporary workers for work which:

  • is dangerous to their health and safety;
  • requires special medical surveillance over a long period.

If Member States do not use this option, they must ensure that appropriate medical surveillance is in place. If necessary, this surveillance may continue after the end of the temporary contract.


The undertaking receiving the temporary worker shall be responsible for the conditions governing the performance of the work, in particular with regard to safety, hygiene and health. Member States may also decide to extend this responsibility to the temporary employment business.

The persons or departments responsible for ensuring that the preventive health rules are complied with must be notified of any assignment of temporary workers.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 91/383/EEC



L 206, 29.7.1991

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Agreement on the European Economic Area - Protocol 1 on horizontal adaptations



L 1, 3.1.1994

Directive 2007/30/EC



OJ L 165, 27.6.2007

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 91/383/EEC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference purpose only.

Last updated: 06.05.2011
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