Young Workers

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Managing the Health & Safety of Young Workers : Supervision and Training

Supervised at all times
Remember wherever young people, especially those below the minimum school leaving age, are exposed to hazards at work, these must be controlled and adequate supervision must be provided at all times by competent people.

Competence is hard to define but it means a person must have a good understanding of hazards, risks and control measures and the necessary skills and experience to be able to supervise young people safely. Remember, good supervision isn't a matter of 'sorting young people out' or 'drumming' safety into them. An effective approach involves:

  • assessing young people's attitudes/capabilities;
  • listening to them, consulting and sharing (for example involving them in risk assessments);
  • informing, instructing and demonstrating (good practice);
  • instilling values/forming attitudes;
  • overseeing, watching, checking (behaviour);
  • facilitating, guiding (towards self reliance);
  • motivating; befriending;
  • organising, controlling, disciplining (where necessary);
  • raising awareness and developing vision.

Guidance for individuals responsible for young people at work is to be found on this site. (see "Information for Mentors")

It is vital that, before young people start work, they receive effective health and safety induction training. Key things to cover include:

  • the company's policy;
  • their personal responsibilities;
  • common hazards on site;
  • what they need to know to protect yourself on day one;
  • who to go for advice; and
  • what to do if things seem unsafe.

For further advice, see Induction Checklist. It is important to follow up on induction training to ensure that the young person has understood. A suggested Follow-up Checklist is also included on this site.

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