Young Workers

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Managing the Health & Safety of Young Workers : What the Law Requires

Controlling Risk
Essentially the law requires you to control risk to safety and health of employees and others 'so far as is reasonably practicable'.

  • You have to have a system (e.g. have a policy, designate people and have clear procedures) in place to manage health and safety (and, if you employ more than five people, set this out in a written health and safety policy statement). And you need to appoint a competent person(s) to help you comply with your legal obligations.

  • You have to identify your main hazards (things that could cause harm), assess your risks. and choose appropriate risk control measures. (Again, if you employ more than five, record the results of your assessment). You have to put in place any back up measures that may be needed like health surveillance or emergency procedures and you must inform, train and supervise your employees, especially young workers and new starters. (see Risk Assessment at its very simplest)

  • You also have to do certain things like: reporting and recording accidents; providing certain basic workplace, first aid and welfare facilities; having employers' liability insurance; and notifying the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Local Authority of your existence; consulting your workforce and their representatives; and so on.

Basic Reading
If all this is new to you, then you need to get a good overview of the subject. Start with some basic reading. Visit HSE's website at www.hse.gov.uk where you can access much useful information, including the text of many free HSE leaflets. HSE publications are available from HSE Books and details are provided on HSE's website. There is also much useful advice in the HSE's guide 'Young People at Work: A Guide for Employers'. (see Small Firms advice sheets on the RoSPA website.)

A checklist of issues you need to consider when employing young people is downloadable from this website. (see Young Worker Health and Safety Checklist)


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