Children and young people

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Health and Safety Guidelines for Employing Young Workers

Employers have specific responsibilities to ensure the safety of young workers aged 16 to 18 years in the workplace, involving thorough risk assessments and appropriate measures.

Responsibilities Under Health and Safety Regulations

The Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 mandate employers to protect young workers from risks due to inexperience or unawareness of potential hazards.

Considerations for Young Workers' Safety

Key aspects to consider include:

  • Workplace layout and exposure to physical, biological, or chemical agents
  • Required training, especially in health and safety
  • Work equipment handling, work organisation, and specific process risks

Risk Assessment in Different Work Environments

The complexity of the risk assessment varies with the workplace:

  • Straightforward assessment in low-risk environments like offices
  • More detailed evaluation in higher-risk settings

Specific Risks for Young Workers

Employers should assess if the work involves:

  • Tasks beyond the young worker's physical or psychological capacity
  • Risks of accidents due to lack of experience or training
  • Exposure to harmful substances or radiation
  • Working in environments with extreme noise, heat, cold, or vibration

Conditions for Young Workers in Risky Jobs

A young person, not classified as a child, can work in risky environments if:

  • The work is necessary for training
  • There is proper supervision by a competent person
  • Risks are reduced to the lowest level practicable

Prohibitions and Parental Notification for Child Workers

Children must not be employed in high-risk jobs. Employers must inform parents or guardians about potential risks and control measures, verbally or in writing.


Ensuring the safety of young workers is a critical responsibility of employers, requiring diligent risk assessments and adherence to health and safety regulations.