Employing young people at work

The UK HSE states that a young person is anyone under the age of 18 and under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 the employer is responsible for ensuring that any young worker is not exposed to risks such as:-

  • Lack of work and job experience.
  • Not being aware of potential risks and immaturity.

The employers should also consider the workplace layout, physical and chemical risks, equipment handling and the amount of training with regards to health and safety and work tools and methods required.

Low risk work areas are for example in an office, where other workplaces would certainly carry a lot more risks, these could be work  that is above the physical level of the young person.

These high risk areas need to be taken into consideration as lack of attention and experience/training would require a more individual system of training and supervision. These areas of high risk would normally have control measures already in place and therefore a young worker can carry out works if they are suitable trained and supervised by experienced persons.

What about jobs for young people on construction sites? (18 years and above only)

These jobs would depend on the maturity and education of the young person, and if the person is undergoing day release from college for a technical job such has a juniour engineer or working as an apprentice. In the case of day release students and apprentices  they would be under the direct supervision of an immediate supervisor e.g a Site Engineer or Foreman with the Site Management overseeing. In the case of young workers not on training courses they tend to be employed as chain men or general labourers, In these cases they will need constant supervision and training in safety awareness and should not be allowed to work lone shifts or carry out lone work until supervisors and management feel they are mature and capable.