New to the job and young workers
Workers are at particular risk of injury in the first six months of a job, when they are more likely to be unaware of existing or potential risks. Young people will often be in this category.
Six steps to protect new workers
- Assess the new starter's capabilities
- Plan and provide an induction
- Make sure control measures to protect against risks are up to date and being properly used and maintained
- Provide relevant information, instruction and training
- Provide adequate supervision
- Check workers have understood the information, instruction and training they need to work safely
In health and safety law, a young person is anyone under 18 and a child is anyone who has not yet reached the official minimum school leaving age.
As an employer, in addition to your health and safety responsibilities to all your employees, you are responsible for ensuring a young person is not exposed to risk due to:
- lack of experience
- being unaware of existing or potential risks
- lack of maturity
Before deciding whether you can employ a young person, you must consider some specific risks which are summarised below:
- the fitting-out and layout of the workplace and the particular site where they will work
- the nature of any physical, biological and chemical agents they will be exposed to, for how long and to what extent
- what types of work equipment will be used and how this will be handled
- how the work and processes involved are organised
- the level of health and safety training given to young people
- risks from the particular agents, processes and work (see 'Find out more' below)
You should also be aware that students and trainees (including children) on work experience are regarded in health and safety law as employees. You must provide them with the same health, safety and welfare protection as other employees.
You must let the parents/guardians of any child know the key findings of the risk assessment and the control measures taken before the child starts work or work experience.