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Case 223 - Enquirer advised that she is unable to carry out work placement checks in high risk companies

Issue

The enquirer attended a one day course with a Health & Safety Consultant who advised that she is unable to carry out workplace checks in 'high risk' companies (engineering, construction, catering etc) and only able to go into low and medium risk companies. Many of the work experience placements are with high risk companies and the enquirers predecessor held the ENTO HSS8 and carried out these checks. She was also advised by the consultant that should an accident happen with one of their students where she had carried out a workplace check, then she would be personally liable and not just the school.

Panel decision

The panel has concluded that the consultant's advice was incorrect and misleading in a number of respects:

There are no health and safety regulations that require schools to carry out workplace assessments for work experience placements or that require any prescribed level of occupational competence or qualification for education personnel organising these.

The school is going beyond current guidance if they are undertaking workplace risk assessments. It is for the employer to have appropriate risk management measures in place and for the school to satisfy themselves that the employer has done that, not to second guess or duplicate the activity.

HSE's work experience guidance makes it clear what you do and do not need to do, and describes how to keep it simple.

2013-11-19