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Common young people myths

Under 18s cannot be employed on construction sites for work or work experience

There is no reason why a young person under 18 could not be employed on a building site for work or work experience, provided the work was properly assessed and suitable controls put in place. Although there may be times when it would not be appropriate for an under 18 to be employed, these will be very much the exception rather than the rule.

Schools and colleges, or those organising work experience placements on their behalf, such as Education Business Partnerships, have to carry out workplace checks before sending students on work experience placements and staff carrying out these checks must meet prescribed levels of occupational competence or qualification

There are no health and safety regulations that require schools, colleges, or those organising placements on their behalf, to carry out workplace assessments for work experience placements. There is also no requirement for any prescribed level of occupational competence or qualification for education personnel, or others organising these placements.

However, schools, colleges and others organising placements do need to satisfy themselves that an employer has risk management arrangements for placements, including for higher risk environments. Find out what you need to do and how to keep it simple.

A separate risk assessment is required for work experience students

A separate risk assessment is not required specifically for work experience students, as long as your existing assessment already considers the specific factors for young people. Furthermore, there is no requirement to re-assess the risks each time an employer takes on a new work experience student, provided the new student has no particular needs.

Schools, colleges and those organising work experience placements on their behalf, such as Education Business Partnerships, must visit all workplaces in advance of a student starting a work experience placement

It is not for schools, colleges or those organising work experience placements on their behalf, to assess work places. The employer who is taking on the student for work experience has the primary responsibility for their health and safety. However, schools, colleges and others organising placements do need to take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that an employer is managing any significant risks. For many low risk premises a visit will not be necessary, there is no reason why this couldn't be done over the phone, with placement organisers simply making a note of the discussion. A conversation with an employer could include finding out what the student will be doing, what the risks are and how they are managed.

It is about keeping checks in proportion to the environment and in many cases it is likely that a school, college, or other placement organiser will be familiar with employers they use regularly and will be aware of their track record. They may also know of other schools, colleges and placement organisers who have placed students with the same employers and can share information with them. Find out what you need to do and how to keep it simple.

Updated 2014-01-28