SAFETY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
TINY TONY ASKS WHOSE FAULT IS IT?
"What Tiny Tony has to say about risks to young people at work"
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Risks to young people at work How young people are affected by risks: what do you need to know?
This part of the site provides guidelines on risks to health and safety as they relate to young people at work and on work experience. For authoritative information, follow the links in the text to the specific guidance and refer to the relevant legislation. The new HSE legislation site provides information on the range of health and safety legislation that applies to workplaces in Great Britain.
All risk assessments need to take account of certain features which apply to young people.
The risk assessment Before employing a young person, your health and safety risk assessment must take these specific factors into account:
There are also risks to young people associated with specific industries or processes:
You may wish to consider developing generic risk assessments for young people. These could be useful when they are likely to be doing temporary or transient work, and when the risk assessments could be modified to deal with particular work situations and any unacceptable risks.
In all cases, you will need to review the risk assessment if the nature of the work changes or you have reason to believe that it is no longer valid.
Outcome of the risk assessment In carrying out the risk assessment you should identify the measures you need to take to control or eliminate health and safety risks. In many cases you will find that the risks to young people are adequately controlled if you are complying with other specific health and safety law, eg the Manual Handling Operations Regulations, or the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH).
If in doubt, you may wish to get professional advice on identifying and controlling the risks. If a significant risk remains in spite of your best efforts to do what is reasonably practicable to control it, you must not employ the young person to do this work.
Restrictions on the work of young people The extent of the risks you identify in the risk assessment will determine whether you should restrict the work of the young people you employ. Except in special circumstances, you should not employ young people to do work which:
Training includes Government-funded training schemes for school leavers, modern apprenticeships, in-house training arrangements and work qualifying for assessment for National/Scottish Vocational Qualifications, eg craft skills.
Information for young people and for their parents/carers You must tell all your employees, including those under 18 years of age, about the risks to their health and safety identified by the assessment, and the measures put in place to control them. You also need to tell them about the procedures to be followed in the event of serious and imminent danger.
Before you employ children of compulsory school age or offer them a work experience placement, you must let their parents or carers know the key findings of the risk assessment and the control measures you have taken. You do not have to provide this information in writing, and in the case of work experience, you may ask the work experience organiser to help you in providing information to parents or carers of any child seeking a placement.
You may also consider giving this information to trade union safety representatives, or employee representatives for health and safety.
Consent from parents/carers You do not need parental consent to employ young people above the MSLA, but your local authority does require you to obtain it before you employ a child of compulsory school age. You must provide the local authority with relevant information on the child so that he/she can be issued with an employment permit. The local authority will advise you on your full responsibilities, these include providing written confirmation that you have completed a risk assessment and have written approval from the parents or carers. When you are offering a work experience placement for school pupils/students, the work experience organiser will deal with parental consent.
You should obtain written consent from parents or carers before taking on a child of compulsory school age in agriculture and restrict their activities to those that are permitted.
Training and supervision Young people need training most when they first start a job; they need it to increase their capabilities and competencies to a level where they can do the work without putting themselves and others at risk. It is not enough to make training available; you should make sure that it is undertaken and also check that key messages have been understood. Young people will also need training and instruction on the hazards and risks present in the workplace, and on the preventive and control measures put in place to protect their health and safety. This training should include a basic introduction to health and safety, eg first aid, fire and evacuation procedures etc.
As well as training, you will need to bear in mind that young people are also very likely to need more supervision than adults. Effective supervision will also help to monitor the effectiveness of the training young people have received, and there will be clear benefits in assessing whether a young person has the necessary capacity and competence to do the job.