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Health and safety training for young people

Examining the profile of attendees on our training courses, we have noticed that there is a lower proportion of younger people than we would expect.  This raises two concerns: first that there may be a future shortage of training and qualified operatives and secondly that apprentices and new entrants may not be receiving the proper training.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), young men aged 16–25 face a 40 per cent higher relative risk of all workplace injury than men aged 45–54.

Ensuring the future of business

Not only is it much easier to train younger people and start them off with good habits than it is to change the ways that older and more experienced staff carry out their jobs. 

Businesses that work in regulated areas need to consider that qualifications reside with the individual and not with the employer. As the experienced staff retire, it is essential that younger staff are suitably trained.  In areas such as identifying and handling asbestos earlier recognition of the dangers and knowledge of how to react are important.

Responsibility for apprentice safety

For apprentices who are under 18, the employer has the same responsibilities as for other young workers.  Where a training provider or work placement organiser is involved in placing the apprentice they need to take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that the employer is managing risks appropriately, but the employer has the primary responsibility for health and safety.

Training providers are not required to carry out workplace assessment but health and safety should always be part of the placement conversation. 

Where the environment will not be familiar to the apprentice, providers should find out check what the employee’s tasks will be and satisfy themselves in discussion that the necessary training, risk assessment and any protective equipment are in place.

In higher risk environments such as construction, agriculture or manufacturing, the HSE advises that you should discuss with the employer what the apprentice will be doing, the risks involved and how these are managed, satisfying yourself that the instruction, training and supervisory arrangements have been properly thought through.

England and Wales, where Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA) services are used to source, arrange and find a host for an apprenticeship, the Agency is the apprentice’s employer.  The ATA and the host organisation should work together to ensure that the apprentice has the same health and safety protection as the host’s other employees. 

Guidance on sharing responsibility for temporary workers at the HSE website is relevant to apprentices.

Broadland Group can provide training in asbestos and legionella awareness and can advise on a wide range of workplace risks.