Young Person’s in the Workplace

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It’s summertime and the school holidays are in full swing. It is during this time that many companies think about taking on a young person to work over the summer, but just remember, when it comes to hiring young persons for a summer job, there are a lot of things you need to consider, that will be different to those of your usual employees.

Regarding the employment of children in the UK, this is subject to limitations regarding the number of hours they can work. Young Persons also have special rights and protections surrounding their personal health and safety.

Under health and safety law, every employer must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all their employees, irrespective of age. As part of this, there are certain considerations that need to be made for young people. Some of these are listed below:

A young person will not be employed for work that:

  • Involves a risk of accidents, which they are unlikely to recognise because of their lack of experience;
  • Training or attention to safety;
  • Is beyond their physical or psychological capacity;
  • Involves a risk to their health from extreme heat, noise or vibration;
  • Exposes them to substances chronically harmful to human health, e.g. toxic or carcinogenic;
  • Substances, or effects likely to be passed on genetically or likely to harm any unborn child;
  • Exposes them to night work, which is not normally permitted between 22.00 and 06.00 but may be varied in writing to 23.00 to 07.00 hours;
  • Exposes them to radiation.

In the following special circumstances, the restrictions do not apply:

  • As a requisite for training (e.g. NVQ, SVQ, In-House, Apprenticeships);
  • Where supervision by a competent person will be provided to the young person, and;
  • Where reduction of the risk to the lowest level that is reasonably practicable is achieved.

Young Person’s Risk Assessment:

If you haven’t previously employed a young person, you should review your risk assessments and take into account the specific factors for young people, before a young person starts with you.

Employers are required by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to carry out such risk assessments in respect of all employees – not only children or young people. However, organisations that employ children or young people must carry out the assessment with those individuals specifically in mind.

They must consider a number of factors, such as the inexperience and immaturity of young people, the suitability of work equipment for use by young people, and the extent of health and safety training that will be required. If employing a child, the child’s parents must be provided with a copy of the assessment.

This assessment may result in a need to make adjustments to the role. For instance, close supervision may be appropriate when undertaking particular tasks or operating particular equipment.

The Avensure Health & Safety team are happy to talk you through the health and safety procedures businesses need to have in place and how to start the process, so please contact us if you want to discuss your health and safety needs in more detail.

Please quote your Client Account Number on all correspondence and telephone calls. 24-hour client advice line: 0800 151 2935 (Option 2)