Health, Safety and Environment Monthly Message

When employing a young person under the age of 18, whether for work, work experience, or as an apprentice, employers have the same responsibilities for their health, safety and welfare as they would for any other employee.

The managing of significant risks in their workplaces is a legal requirement for all employees, and an additional assessment should be made to determine whether or not any additional controls are required for a young person. Prior to any employment or work experience, all associated risks must be appropriately managed.

If employing or facilitating work experience for a young person, an employer will need to review the relevant risk assessments for the activities to be undertaken by the young person, taking into account the specific factors for young people. This should be straightforward for low-risk activities, for example an office with everyday risks that will mostly be familiar to the young person. In such cases, existing arrangements should be sufficient, however the relevant risk assessments should still be reviewed before the activity(ies) can take place.

In less-familiar environments for young persons, arrangements should be specifically put in place to manage the associated risks. This should include a site induction, familiarisation, supervision and any personal protective equipment (PPE) as indicated in the risk assessment.

For work in higher-risk environments, the risks are likely to be greater and will need more careful attention to ensure they are properly controlled. If a workplace contains high risk hazards, employers should already have control measures in place.

Young persons should not, however, be expected or required to undertake any activities which expose them to hazards such as:

  • Radiation
  • Levels of noise breaching the lower exposure action value (xˉ 80 dB/day or week)
  • Vibration
  • Toxic Substances
  • Extreme Temperatures
  • Lasers
  • Power Tools
  • Alcohol

It should also be noted that there may also exist age limits on particular activities, for example, on some woodworking equipment. Anyone under the minimum age should not be allowed to use such equipment or undertake those activities.

The University’s Young Persons’ Policy is available at: https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/media/departmental/healthsafetyenvironment/Young-Persons-Policy-Final.pdf.

Further guidance is available from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)’s Young People at Work pages, available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/index.htm.

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