Hiring temporary staff (clinical waste)

The current vacancy for a part-time clinical waste handler/roundsman in west London raises two interesting questions.

The advertisement specifies:

In order to be considered for this role it is essential you have been inoculated with the Hepatitis vaccination


Knowledge and adherence to Health and Safety guidelines within this area is paramount

It is a credit to the employer that the require such specifications/standards for their employees, but I wonder in this case how knowledge and adherence to Health and Safety guidelines will be measured.

And how many individuals might be in the job market with an Hepatitis B vaccination certificate to hand? If there are none, does the post go unfilled? Is an unvaccinated individual appointed? Will vaccination be offered after work has been commenced?

It is important that health and safety performance including in particular hand hygiene and sharps/splash protection is properly managed at all times and for all staff. The appropriate PPE is essential; staff must be trained in its use, and properly supervised. Hepatitis B vaccination is advisable, not mandatory, but is certainly a wise precaution that must be offered by the employer. Failure to do so might catch the eye of the HSE, and would certainly be high on the checklist for a conscientious solicitor chasing a sharps injury claim.

The still bigger issue is what to do about agency staff and temps. Can employers be so selective? And can the afford not to be, since nobody plans in advance for the need of a temp who is generally required now and may start on the next working day.


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