Supervison of work experience staff

View Latest News Publish Date: 2-Apr-2007

Supervison of work experience staff

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning firms of their responsibilities towards young people on work experience after the sentencing of a Chesterfield company at Chesterfield Magistrates Court last week.

The warning comes after Adis Scaffolding Limited of Duckmanton, Chesterfield were fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £3,046 costs at Chesterfield Magistrates Court after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing at these courts on 7 March 2007 to charges brought by HSE. The case involved a 15 year-old student on work experience who broke his right leg after he got off a forklift truck that was still moving.

Matthew Nash, from Bolsover School, broke his right leg when he got off the forklift truck, which he was traveling on as an unauthorised passenger, at the company's premises on 19 May 2005. The forklift truck was being driven by an unauthorised 16 year-old employee.

Derbyshire HSE Inspector Kevin Wilson said:

"This incident could have been prevented if the company had provided adequate supervision for the student and the young employee. The employee should not have been able to drive the fork lift truck, as he was not authorised to do so and had not received appropriate training, the student should also not have been able to ride on the truck. "

"Young people, especially those new to the workplace or on work experience, will encounter unfamiliar risks from the jobs they're doing and from the working environment.

"Their lack of experience, absence of awareness of existing or potential risks and lack of maturity mean that they need proper supervision and had this been provided it's unlikely this accident would have taken place."

"The starting point for employers taking students on work experience is to conduct a young persons risk assessment. This should identify the controls necessary and the level of supervision required to ensure their health and safety. Work experience students are regarded as employees under health and safety legislation and are protected as such under health and safety law. "

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