Labour hire workers are more than a spare pair of arms and legs. Often in building and construction jobs, there are tasks that require specially trained workers which may not form part of the general crew. In any situation where workers are accessing a non-standard working area with only one point of exit and entry, there needs to be a confined space trained sentry standing at the exit/entry point to monitor the safety of the workers, call for help if required and monitor gas levels in restricted areas. These workers are often sourced from labour hire firms as they are not needed all the time, but a regular need exists for their role across a range of industries.
Here are some specific issues to clarify with the labour hire firm before hiring their confined space workers:
How many workers you will need?
Bear in mind that for long shifts your workers will need meal breaks as well as regular hygiene breaks. You may find it more efficient to hire two confined space sentries so that workers in the confined space to not have to stop work and vacate the workspace when your sentry is not available, which can be extremely time consuming when equipment needs to be disconnected and the job is stopped and restarted.
What confined space training do they have?
Check if the workers have received a training course that aligns with the national standard RIIOHS202A "Enter and work in confined spaces". This course forms part of several longer qualifications but is also offered as a standalone course by many providers. If they do not have this competency, they should not be acting as a sentry for confined spaces.
What PPE do they require?
If your job requires PPE (personal protective equipment) beyond the standard hi-visibility vest and steel cap boots ensure that the labour hire company is aware of the requirements, so that they send a full prepared worker.
Does your company have a strict drug and alcohol policy?
If your company has a strict drug and alcohol policy which tests for drug use (particularly if it can catch drug use from previous days or weeks) make sure the labour hire company knows, as you don't want a worker arriving who can't work on site. This can cause long delays, especially if you need someone sent from another town. Many sites also have a strict non smoking policy, particularly around confined spaces. If this is the case on your work site be sure to emphasise this to the labour hire firm to prevent any later issues.
For more information, contact a company like DSC Personnel.