The University recognises the health, safety and welfare of children and young persons as a key principle. With the minimum school leaving age now being 18, a yound person (or child) is considered to be any person under this age.
There are a number of factors that need to be considered when involving young people in University activities which can be broken down into:-
- psychological factors - inexperience, maturity and lack of awareness of existing or potential risks;
- physiological factors - physical capabilities and physiological development as well as the suitability of uniform / personal protective equipment fit.
These should be considered whenever a University activity takes place involving a young person or young people to consider their suitability and to manage the additional risks that could be introduced as a consequence of their engagement. The University also has its own policies relating to safeguarding.
There are four situations at the University where persons may arrange for young people to come onto campus where there is a need to assess and take responsibility for the health and safety of said individuals, to assess risks and to ensure at all times an adequate level of supervision:
- Staff bringing their own children onto Campus- children brought onto campus other than for University organised and supervised activities remain the responsibility of their parent/guardian at all times. Staff who wish to bring their children into their department must first get the approval/permission of their Head of Department and must directly supervise their child at all times. All local rules must also be adhered to. Such rules may restrict children from accessing certain areas even when accompanied by their parent/guardian due to their inherent risks.
- Research ethics - where young people are involved in research the work is subject to approval by the Research Ethics Committee and will be covered by H&S Policy and governance arrangements.
- Work Experience - when work or work experience is offered to people under the minimum school leaving age, the University owes that person the same or a higher level of duty for their health, safety and welfare as for all other employees. There may be risks that may be specific to the work activity or an increased risk for young people (taking into consideration the psychological and physiological factors stated above) and all must be considered in the risk assessment process. The risk assessment must be documented where there are significant risks and discussed with the individual (and in many cases also with the school or college) prior to them commencing their work experience. There may be certain work activities, work environments or specific types of equipment that the young person will not be able to engage in due to tighter regulatory restrictions laid down in specific pieces of legislation and/or stated within certain University health and safety policies.
- Events - involving young people are subject to risk assessment by the event organiser. There is a requirement on event organisers to demonstrate that all necessary arrangements have been made to mitigate any normal risks introduced by any activities and any additional risk introduced by virtue of the event involving young people. Where an event will involve young people having to reside on University campus overnight, additional considerations must be paid to their adequate supervision, not just for the event itself, but also other periods when they will be on campus. The same will apply if a group are taken off campus for an event.