What are our legal health and safety requirements regarding the use of dogs in the workplace?
We are looking at using dogs to detect termites. We would have them in our main workplace, but also transport them to and from other worksites in our vehicles. What are our legal health and safety requirements?
There are no explicit legal guidelines surrounding the presence of dogs in workplaces. However, if a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) uses dogs on the worksite, then the PCBU must, so far as is reasonably practicable, take steps ensure the health and safety of workers and other persons put at risk from work carried on by the business.
This means the PCBU must assess the risks to health and safety that using dogs on the worksite pose, e.g. dog bites or allergies, and what steps can be taken to ensure the health and safety of workers to remove or reduce those risks.
For transporting dogs, the RMS Road Users Handbook states:
“A driver, motorcycle rider, bicycle rider or passenger must not lead an animal, including by tethering, while the vehicle is moving. Animals should be seated or housed in appropriate areas.”
You should ensure that the dogs are properly restrained while travelling, either through the use of a dog restraint or a carrier.