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The Health and Safety Executive have a dedicated webpage for employers reminding them of the need to be extra cautious with the safety of young people.
When you employ young people under the age of 18, you have the same responsibilities for their health, safety and welfare as you do for other workers. This applies whether they are:
- a worker,
- on work experience, or
- an apprentice.
Young people are likely to be new to the workplace and so are at more risk of injury in the first six months of a job, as they may be less aware of risks. They will often be vulnerable, as they may:
- lack experience or maturity;
- not have reached physical maturity and lack strength;
- be eager to impress or please people they work with; or
- be unaware of how to raise concerns.
Young people need clear and sufficient instruction, training, and supervision so they understand the importance of health and safety and can work without putting themselves and other people at risk. They may need more supervision than adults.
Work experience and work-based learning will be the first time most young people experience the work environment.
Good preparation and organisation of placements is essential if these opportunities are to be helpful and safe introductions to work.
If your workplace has health and safety representatives, they can play a valuable role early on by:
- introducing the young person to the workplace;
- helping with their ongoing training; and
- giving employers feedback about particular concerns.