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New HSE Guidance on Employing Young People/Apprentices

18 October 2013 | Updated 01 January 1970

The HSE has published revised young people guidance as   employers should already be managing any significant risks in their workplaces and are best placed to assess whether or not they need to do anything additional for a young person joining them

If an employer currently employs a young person, or has done so in the last few years, their existing arrangements for assessment and management of the risks for new young people in the workplace should be sufficient, if the new starter is of a broadly similar level of maturity and understanding and has no particular needs.

If employing a young person for the first time or employing one with particular needs, an employer will need to review their risk assessment, taking into account the specific factors for young people before they start. This should be straightforward in a low-risk business, for example an office with everyday risks that will mostly be familiar to the young person.   

For work in higher risk environments such as in construction or manufacturing or in some maintenance areas, the risks are likely to be greater and will need more careful attention to ensure they are properly controlled. If a workplace contains hazards, employers should already have control measures in place.

Employers need to make arrangements to manage the risks. These will need to include induction, supervision, site familiarisation and provision of any protective equipment needed.

Employers with fewer than five employees are not required to have a written risk assessment.

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, an employer has a responsibility to ensure that young people employed by them are not exposed to risk due to lack of experience, being unaware of existing or potential risks and/or lack of maturity.

An employer must consider:

The layout of the workplace

The physical, biological and chemical agents they will be exposed to

How they will handle work equipment

How the work and processes are organised

The extent of health and safety training needed

Risks from particular agents, processes and work.

Employers need to consider whether the work the young person will do is beyond their physical or psychological capacity. This doesn’t have to be complicated, it could be as simple as checking a young person is capable of safely lifting weights and of remembering and following instructions.

Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 18 October 2013


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