It’s that time of year again…… Work Experience. Whilst work experience can be an exciting time for young people, it is also a time where they can face hazards and risks in unfamiliar surroundings. Since employers hold the same health, safety and welfare responsibilities for work experience students as they do for their entire workforce, it is vital that you are fully prepared.

Employers have a legal duty to pay additional attention to risk assessment when employing staff under the age of 18. Since work experience students are likely to fall into this category and, since they are likely to be inexperienced, unaware of health and safety risks and physically or mentally immature, it is vital that you look at the workplace from a young person’s viewpoint and carry out a risk assessment accordingly. By understanding that young people may not be fully-grown and could find their workplace awkward and the tools too big, you will gain a better perspective of potential risks to young people working on your premises.

To help you prepare for a safe and successful work experience placement, we suggest you follow these 10 simple steps:

  1. Meet the young person before the work placement starts. Determine whether the young person has any specific requirements.
  2. Discuss objectives and expectations.
  3. Agree suitable work tasks to give an understanding of your organisation.
  4. Prepare a risk assessment appropriate to the age and work to be done.
  5. Ensure significant risks are communicated to the school and parents if the young person is of school age.
  6. Check with your insurers that they agree to the work placement.
  7. Plan an induction programme that includes health, safety and conditions of work.
  8. Identify a supervisor and mentor.
  9. Review progress during the work placement.
  10. Provide feedback to the young person and the school and expect some in return.

Having a work experience placement is an ideal opportunity to review your current systems and remind all of your staff of the importance of health and safety practices. Of course, if you need help with any of this then you can contact us.

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