Work Experience health and safety and risk assessment requirements

Under health and safety law work experience students are your employees. You should therefore treat them no differently to other young people that you employ. Your existing employers’ liability insurance will cover work placements provided your insurer is a member of the Association of British Insurers.Play the health and safety sign game

Work experience organised through provides an integrated service that is designed to provide advice to help you satisfy any legal requirements.

If you already employ young people you may be able to use your existing risk assessments particularly for low-risk environments such as offices or shops. These environments will normally be familiar to the students already.

If you have not employed a young person before, or one with particular needs, discuss the placement in advance with the organiser (such as, or the student’s school or college, and review your risk assessment before the student starts work.

The school or college will be able to tell you if the student has any particular needs, for example due to any health conditions or learning difficulties.

In environments with risks less familiar to the student. Such as light assembly or packing facilities you will need to manage the risks by providing induction, supervision, site familiarisation, and any protective equipment required.

For placements in higher risk environments such as construction, agriculture, manufacturing and engineering you will need to consider:

  1. What work will the student be allowed to do or observe, what are the risks and how will they be managed?
  2. What training, instruction and supervisory arrangements will be required?
  3. How well do these arrangements work in practice?

In high risk environments there may be other specific factors that will need to be managed for young people such as exposure to radiation, noise and vibration, toxic substances or extreme temperatures. There will also be specific legal age limits on the use of some equipment and machinery such as fork lift trucks and woodworking machinery.

As part of your induction you should explain the risks, how they are to be controlled and check that the student understands what they have been told.

Where students are in full time education in a school or college there is a requirement to inform the parents or carers of these children about the key elements of the risk assessment. This is often done by the school, college or the central organiser, for example  has a system in place to do this with minimum inconvenience to the employer in areas where they organise placements.

Additional useful information

The following  article gives more information about what the law says about young people at work.



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