When work or work experience is offered to people under the age of 18 the same level of duty for their health, safety and welfare must be placed upon them as for all other employees. Additionally any risks that may be specific to or increased for young people must considered in the risk assessment and notified to the individual prior to them commencing work/work experience. There are additional duties placed upon the employer of children, those under the minimum school leaving age.
Trainees on work experience are regarded in health and safety law as employees and therefore must be given the same health and safety protection as employees.
There are certain requirements that must be adhered to:
- ensure that the risk assessment for the activities that the young person will be involved in takes into account their psychological and physiological immaturity, inexperience and lack of awareness of potential risk and identifies appropriate control measures to minimise or eliminate risks as far as is practical.
- make the parents or guardians aware of the findings and control measures of the risk assessment
- take account of whether they should be excluded form certain work activities on the basis of risk
Supervision and Training
It is essential that young persons on work experience are supervised and that those supervising them are clear about their roles and responsibilities. When young people start a new job training is essential, especially covering risks present in the workplace. The training must not only be provided but must also be understood, and it should be checked that the young person understands the preventative and control measures in place, including especially emergency procedures.
Where the work is in Agriculture the written permission of the parent or guardian must be provided before taking on a child of compulsory school age.
Children under 16 must not be employed to do work which:
- is beyond their physical or psychological capacity;
- exposes them to substances chronically harmful to human health, eg toxic or carcinogenic substances, or effects likely to be passed on genetically or likely to harm the unborn child;
- exposes them to radiation;
- involves a risk of accidents which they are unlikely to recognise because of eg their lack of experience, training or attention to safety;
- involves a risk to their health from extreme heat, noise or vibration.
Young people (16-18 yrs) may only do work activities that are necessary for their training, and where they are under proper supervision by a competent person and the risks are reduced to the lowest level so far as reasonably practical.
Further information on “young people at work” can be found by clicking the following link http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/