Health and Safety

by Pete Fisher

Young workers

Employers must ensure that any young person who is employed or taken on work experience is protected while at work from risks that may be more significant, due to their lack of experience and maturity.


Young person

A young person is defined as being above the minimum school leaving age but less than 18 years old.


A child is someone who is below the minimum school leaving age.

Risk assessment

A risk assessment must be carried before the young person starts work, to identify what risks are apparent. The assessment must take account of existing control measures plus the young person’s physical and psychological capacity and the possibility that the risk may not be recognised, due to their lack of experience or training.

It should also be noted that equipment designed and bought for use by adults may not be suitable and it may be necessary to make a special purchase.

If the person is classified as a child, the risk assessment and any other relevant information must be provided in writing to their parents (or guardians) before the child commences work.

Significant risk

If, when assessing a particular task, a significant risk still remains after all control measures have been implemented, a child cannot be employed to do that particular work.

A young person (not a child) can only be employed on the same task when all the following three conditions apply:

  • The work is necessary for their training
  • They are supervised by a competent person
  • The risk is reduced to the lowest practical level.