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Chapter 23 EMPLOYMENT OF YOUNG PEOPLE

 the Health and Safety (Young Persons) Regulations 1997 affects the way employers have to act when they employ young people.

There always has been legislation controlling the employment of young people in particular employment ( in factories, using lead, etc.) and at all places of employment the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 Section 2 says: It is the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all employees at work.

The Management of Health & Safety Regulations 1992 requires a risk assessment to be carried out on all identified hazards and this could mean that employers have to control or prohibit particular work if there are particular risks to the health and safety of young people.

However, the Health and Safety (Young Persons) Regulations 1997 is particularly concerned with the protection of young persons and the action employers must take when employing them, and could affect almost every Golf Course and Sports Ground.

The new Regulation extends the requirement to carry out a risk assessment to include the particular risks to young persons, require certain information to be given to employees and the parents / guardians of children at work, and require young persons to be protected from any risks at work.

It further states that employers may not employ young persons for work which is beyond their physical and/or psychological capabilities.

The Regulations have a couple of exemptions:

It is as well to define the terms 'child' and 'young person':

A 'child' is defined as a person who is not over compulsory school age - as construed in accordance with the Education Act 1996 in England and Wales and the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 in Scotland.

A 'young person' is defined as a person who has not reached the age of 18.

RISK ASSESSMENT Employers may not take young persons into their employment unless a risk assessment has been carried out, or an existing assessment is reviewed, in order to ensure that any risks to those young persons are identified and addressed.

Where young persons are already employed, the existing risk assessments must be reviewed.

When carrying out the assessment or review of the risks to young persons, employers must take the following factors into account :

INFORMATION FOR EMPLOYEES

In addition to providing employees with comprehensible and relevant health and safety information as required under the 'Management of Health & Safety Regulations', employers must also provide the parents or guardians of a child with comprehensive and relevant information.

This information must include the identified risks to young persons, the associated preventive and protective measures, and any other information on risks to health and safety This information must be given to parents or guardians before a 'child' is employed.

The above prohibitions on the employment of young persons do not apply

  1. where the work is part the young person's training,
  2. where the work is carried out under the supervision of a competent person

    and

  3. where any risks are reduced to the lowest level that is reasonably practicable.

..

The Health and Safety (Training for Employment) Regulations 1990 extend the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Act to cover people provided with 'relevant training'. This means that people receiving training or work experience from an employer in the workplace are deemed to be employees for the purposes of health and safety legislation.

ACTION There are two basic questions to ask:

1. Are all employees above school leaving age - if so no problems of informing parents!

2. Are any of the employees under 18 years of age - work experience, skill seekers etc. - if so then you must review all your risk assessments taking into account the young person.

It is self evident that accidents happen to inexperienced and untrained staff - that is to say especially young persons!

As of the 1st March 1997, you must have carried out the risk assessments to include the problems as detailed above for any young persons in your employment.

Again may I give a personal point of view, and say that most Head Greenkeepers I know have already have done everything asked of them under the new Regulations - what they probably have not done is kept adequate records!!! - make sure your records are up to date!!

RISK ASSESSMENT when employing young people or children.

As I explained, the new Regulations, together with the Management of Health & Safety Regulations 1992 require a RISK ASSESSMENT to be carried out on all identified hazards to determine if there are particular risks to the health and safety of young people.

Every task and substance requires a RISK or COSHH ASSESSMENT and you will already have carried these out for all the work carried out at your workplace.

However, it is now necessary that you re-examine all these assessments to establish if there is a particular risk for young people. When carrying out the assessment or review of the particular risks to young persons as I discussed previously

As I see it, we must assume that a young person comes onto the job with no experience or competence We must then assess them on the degree of supervision & training they require to reach an acceptable level of competence in any task. This is a continuous process and will differ in each individual.

How do we assess this?

May I suggest a basic structure for evaluation of risk for young people :

Level 1 This task is so simple that after being instructed to carry it out the youngster can carry on with no real supervision required - e.g. the use of a Dutch hoe or the raking of bunkers

A Young Person could be asked to carry out this work immediately on employment

Level 2 This task requires some instruction and supervision until the level of competence has been achieved - the level of supervision is dependent on the individual and is the responsibility of the supervisor.

A Young Person should be encouraged to be carrying out these tasks in the first year of his employment

Level 3 This task requires quite a bit of training, perhaps specialised training, and continuous Direct & Personal supervision until the Young Person reaches a level of competence. An outside evaluation may be required e.g. a SQA Module or Proficiency Certificate.

The Young Person may only carry these out under direct & personal supervision and will probably not reach a satisfactory level of competence for quite some time.

Level 4 This task should never be carried out by a Young Person except under Direct & Personal Supervision as temperamentally, or perhaps by law, they are more at risk e.g. use of toxic pesticides(Cymag, Phostoxin or Talunex), use of Chainsaw, use of Forklift. This task requires specialised training, and continuous Direct & Personal supervision until the Young Person reaches a level of competence.

The level of competence will be assessed by external examination - the young person cannot carry out the work unsupervised until he has 'passed his test'.

Level 5 This task should never be carried out by a Young Person, as temperamentally, or perhaps by law, they are more at risk e.g. use of guillotines, use of mincers Accidents involving these tasks would render permanent serious damage to the Young Person - death, loss of limbs etc.

The Young Person can be shown these as a demonstration by competent operators.

So let us consider 4 hazards and look at the risks associated with them

HAZARD

Physical

Physical

Physical

Physical

HAZARD TYPE

Trapping & Crushing

Trapping & Crushing

Trapping & Cutting

Trapping & Cutting

TASK

Agricultural Tractors

Agricultural Tractors

Use of Chainsaw

Equipment Hand tools

Overturning

PTO - power take off

Hoe, Garden Rake
People affected Operator

X

X

X

X

other employees
Young People

3

4

4

1

Contractors
General public
Visitors
Environment
RISK Probable
Possible

X

X

X

X

Remote
WORST CASE/ EXPECTED Fatal

X

X

X

RIDDOR - 3 day
Loss Time Injury

X

X

Minimum Injury

X

X

No Injury
Environment
PRESENT CONTROLS Premises

X

X

X

Plant

X

X

X

X

SWP

X

X

X

X

Training

X

X

X

X

PPE

X

RISK EVALUATION Acceptable

X

X

X

X

Not Acceptable

You can see that the use of PTO Tractor equipment should not be carried out by a Young Person whereas hand equipment can be used with minimal training.

You must consider your

PRESENT CONTROLS - you must evaluate each of these in your workplace - this details how you are, at present, controlling the risk to acceptable levels

PREMISES - the 'umbrella' of things you do to ensure safety in your workplace : Safety Policy, COSHH Assessments, welfare, lighting, heating, storage of materials, etc. - are you doing all this??

PLANT - the system you have of the organising the maintenance of equipment, yearly, monthly and daily checks (daily checks are usually included in the Safe Working Practice) Do you keep records of maintenance?

SAFE WORKING PRACTICE You should have a safe working practice for the task - this is obviously one of the foundations of you risk assessment - often the Manufacturers Manual can be used as this.

TRAINING It is essential that the training has covered the risks likely to be encountered - can you prove your operators are so trained - evaluation by Head Greenkeeper/ Groundsman for tasks at Level 1 and Level 2 but probably from outside Examiners for Level 3 and certainly External Examiners for Level 4 - when the operator is old enough, experienced enough, trained enough and competent enough!!!!

PPE, personal protective equipment, is regarded as the last barrier for protection. Young Persons must be trained in their use - it is essential we assess the PPE in the work circumstance - does it actually protect the operator? Remember: Employers may not take young persons into their employment unless a risk assessment has been carried out, or an existing assessment is reviewed, in order to ensure that any risks to those young persons are identified and addressed.


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