Due to the relative inexperience of such persons, particular care should be exercised through appropriate induction training, close supervision and the observance of certain particular legal requirements, in addition to the general provisions of Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and Regulation 19 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation’s 1999.
(i) Work Experience
The Education (Work Experience) Act 1973 provides for children who are in their last year of compulsory schooling to participate in work placement schemes approved by the Local Education Authority. The 1973 Act also exempts such schoolchildren who are under 16 from the restrictions of the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children’s Act 1920. However, any legislation restricting the employment of persons over the minimum school leaving age does apply to them.
Under the Health and Safety (Training for Employment) Regulation’s 1990 those receiving relevant training should be treated as employees for the purposes of health and safety legislation.
(ii) Government Training Schemes
The Health and Safety (Training for Employment) Regulation’s 1990 extend the coverage of health and safety legislation to all those receiving ‘relevant training’ (this includes training schemes and work experience placements). Consequently, participants in many government schemes will be employees for health and safety purposes, unless the training is provided by an educational establishment as defined by the Regulations.
Particular legal requirements
1. The Health and Safety (Young Persons) Regulation’s 1997 introduced new requirements into the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation’s. As a result employers are required to:
- assess risks to young people, under 18 years of age, before they start work
- take into account their inexperience, lack of awareness of existing or potential risks, and immaturity
- address specific factors in the risk assessment
- provide information to parents of school-age children about the risk and the control measures introduced; and
- take account of the risk assessment in determining whether the young person should be prohibited from certain work activities, except where they are over the minimum school leaving age and it is necessary for their training and:
(i) where risks are reduced so far as is reasonably practicable; and
(ii) where proper supervision is provided by a competent person.
Table 1 in HS(G) 165 gives extensive guidance on the type of work, nature of the risk and how to avoid it for significant risks in workplaces.
2. The Dangerous Machines (Training of Young Persons) Order 1954 prescribes dangerous machines, at which young persons (16-18 year olds) ought not to work unless they have received full instruction and sufficient training and are under adequate supervision by a knowledgeable/experienced person. The prescribed dangerous machines include dough brakes, dough mixers, meat mincing machines, pie and tart making machines, semi-automatic wood-turning lathes and guillotines.
3. Section 20 of the Factories Act 1961 prohibits a young person from cleaning any part of a prime mover or of any transmission machinery whilst in motion. Young persons also are prohibited from cleaning any part of any machine if that would expose them to risk of injury.
4. Under Reg. 13 of the Woodworking Machines Regulation’s 1974 no person under 18 may operate certain machines unless they have successfully completed an approved training course. The machines are:-
1. a circular saw (including panel saw, dimension saw)
2. any other sawing machine fitted with a circular blade
3. a hand-fed surface planer (including a combined machine which is being used for surfacing); or
4. a vertical spindle moulder (including routers)
5. Children who are at school age are also required to be registered with Lancashire County Council Education Department.
Further guidance can be found via the full Children and Young Persons Act (2008).
The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulation’s 1992 (as amended) require employers to minimise the risks from Visual Display Unit (VDU)/Display Screen Equipment (DSE) work, by ensuring that workplaces and tasks are well designed. The law covers those who work with VDU’s as defined:
- “User”: an employee who habitually uses DSE as a significant part of their normal work.
- “Operator”: a self-employed person who habitually uses DSE as a significant part of their normal work.
- “Workstation”: includes any assembly of DSE, accessory furniture/equipment and immediate work environment.
An assessment should be carried out of any “user” by utilising the check-list found in HSG90 Display Screen Equipment Work- Guidance on Regulation’s (L26) HSE (p44-48) to ensure that the equipment, environment and task design/software is safe for them.
All workstations must meet the minimum requirements, laid down in The Schedule to the Regulation’s (quoted from Display Screen Equipment Work (L26)):
- Adequate Lighting;
- Adequate contrast, no glare or distracting reflections;
- Distracting noise minimised;
- Leg room and clearances to allow postural changes;
- Window covering;
- Software appropriate to task, adapted to user, provides feedback on system status, no undisclosed monitoring;
- Screen stable image, adjustable, readable, glare / reflection free;
- Keyboard usable adjustable, detachable, legible;
- Work surface allows flexible arrangements, spacious, glare free; and
- Work chairs adjustable.
The safer workplace, better business pack has been produced by the officers of the Devon Health & Safety Sub Group, in Partnership with the Health and Safety Executive. Businesses have been consulted throughout the development of the pack which is available to download below.
The pack has been designed for small, medium sized businesses, such as restaurants, cafes, takeaways, retailers, small hotels, public houses, care homes and offices.
Once completed it will allow businesses to identify key hazards in their workplace, introduce suitable control measures and have a documented system available for inspection by enforcement officers.
- Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulation’s 1992 (as amended)
- Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulation’s 1998 (as amended) [PUWER]
- Lifting Operation’s and Lifting Equipment Regulation’s 1998 (as amended) [LOLER]
What do I need to do?
Working at Height
In essence, you should avoid working at height in the first place if it is reasonably practicable to do so. A common activity involving working at height includes the need to replace electrical light bulbs. In such cases, techniques may include Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM), which would involve replacing all the electrical lights at height when only 90% of their life has been used. This then only exposes you to the risk of working at height once every 2–3 years, whereas if you were changing every light bulb as soon as they failed, you are exposing yourself (or your staff) to that risk on numerous occasions. Other techniques could involve using ‘cherry pickers’ which is a lot more stable and safer as there is less risk of falling out. However, operatives still need to wear and attach their lanyards to eye bolts in the working platform, as well as secure their tools, to prevent them falling out.
Any ladders used on site must be secured against unauthorised use by contractors, visitors, or untrained members of staff. They should also comply with either BS 2037 (Aluminium), BS 1129 (Wood) or BS EN 131 (which was the previous Class 2 rating). They should not be of a domestic rating (BS Class 3) due to their use in a commercial premises and reduced durability. You should also implement a monitoring system to ensure that they are regularly checked for safety and replaced when necessary. Any staff using steps and ladders must be properly trained in their use.
Where window cleaning cannot be carried out safely from inside the premises without the risk of falling out, or if scaffolding and cherry pickers are not reasonably practicable to use for this purpose, then you should follow the procedure stated below.
**Suitable provision should include either:
Fitting windows that can be cleaned safely from inside (e.g. fitting access equipment) or; providing suitably placed anchorage points for safety harnesses that conform to European Standard EN 795:1997 (these should only be installed by a competent contractor and tested in accordance with BS 7883:1997).
Restricting Window Openings
Windows in common parts, i.e. on staircases, and frequently in hotel rooms where children will be present where there is a drop of over 2 metres, can often pose a risk of falling. For example, if the window can open a long way there is a risk that someone may fall out. This is especially important where children can gain access from furniture near windows and climb out. In these circumstances, window restrictors are often used to prevent the window being opened too far. This will have to be assessed by using a risk assessment, as it may not be necessary to restrict all windows.
- Height Safe – Absolutely essential health and safety information for people who work at height (Leaflet 06/03) HSE
- Safety in window cleaning using suspended and powered access equipment (HSE Information Sheet) (MISC611)
- Safety in window cleaning using suspended rope access techniques (HSE Information Sheet) (MISC612)
- Safety in window cleaning using portable ladders (HSE Information Sheet) (MISC613)
- Use of fall protection equipment with mobile elevating work platforms (HSE Information Sheet) (MISC614)
- Tower Scaffolds (HSE Construction Information Sheet) (CIS10(rev3))
- Health and safety in roof work (HSG33) (1998) (Second edition) HSE (ISBN 0 7176 1425 5) (Priced 8.50)
- Safety guide from the National Federation of Master Window and General Cleaners (NFMW&GC 2001)
- Inspecting fall arrest equipment made from webbing or rope (INDG367) HSE
A policy should be developed to deal with contractors visiting your premises, so that you are assured they the contractors are competent to do the job (i.e. that they have sufficient knowledge, experience, practical ability and training). They must also be safe when carrying out the works so as not to put themselves or anyone else in danger while they are doing so, as well as leaving it in a safe condition when they leave.
Contractor Policy your contractor policy forms part of your health and safety policy, and should concentrate on the following aspects:
assessing the competence (in terms of health and safety) of your existing, and future contractors (i.e. check their safety policy, risk assessments, safe systems of work, training arrangements, previous work completed, monitoring procedures etc.); decide what information you need to supply to your contractors and their employees in order for them to work safely, e.g. presence of asbestos, fragile roofs; what monitoring arrangements you need to put into place to ensure that contractors work safely; and what actions will you take when contractors fail to comply with legal obligation’s.