Legislation affecting work experience

Insurance arrangements

There are 6 principal areas of risk that may be relevant:

  • Injury to students themselves;
  • Injury to others on the premises;
  • Injury to others not on the premises;
  • Damage to or loss of employers’ property;
  • Damage to or loss of other property;
  • Damage to or loss of an employee’s property.

The Association of British Insurers, The British Insurance and Investment Brokers Association and Lloyds of London have agreed to regard work experience students on a placement as “employees” solely for the purposes of work experience. All placement providers must have Public Liability and Employers Liability Insurance.

For “sole-traders” who do not have Employer Liability insurance, the employer will need to contact their Public Liability insurer to see if they will indemnify the student for employers liability as a volunteer. The employer’s insurance company must be informed of the employer’s intention to take on a work experience student. Where a student will be travelling in a vehicle for the purposes of work the vehicle insurance must cover them.

If “liability” can be demonstrated then:

  • Injuries caused to others on the premises, others not on the premises, damage to others property and damage to an employee’s property should normally be covered by the employer’s Public Liability Insurance policy.
  • Damage to the employer’s own property should normally be covered by the employer’s material damage policy.
  • Injuries to the student whilst on work experience will be covered by the employer’s Employers Liability Insurance policy.
  • Students must be briefed that if they cause injury or damage through a deliberate act they will not be indemnified by insurance and may be required to meet the cost of any compensation the Courts may award.

Limits on the jobs students can do on work experience

The Education Act 1996, Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and local bye-laws place limitations on the type of work which students can undertake on work experience.

Hours of work

The Working Time Regulations 1998 and 1999 apply to students on work experience however, the number and pattern of hours worked is normally agreed by the placement provider, parents, school and the student. If possible, normal hours should be worked, but students are not allowed to work outside any hours specified by legislation. Where a placement involves shift work and the student wants to undertake one night shift, as part of their experience, this can be allowed but must be agreed by the parents and the employer and must not exceed the legal maximum.

Pay, tax and national insurance

Students on Work Experience have the status of an “employee” for legal and insurance purposes but must not receive payment for the work they do.

Employers can assist with travelling expenses or lunch costs if they wish.

The Health and Safety aspects of work experience

Placement suitability visits

Work Experience Organisers (Schools and PRU’s) have a duty to assess the ability of a work experience placement provider to provide for a student’s health, safety and welfare whilst on work experience. At present the Council provides this service for schools and a representative of the Council will make a visit to each placement provider over a period of time to discuss health, safety, welfare and other related issues in order to assess their ability to cater for the health, safety and welfare of a student on work experience.

Specific risk assessment for young workers

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires employers to undertake a Risk Assessment. Employers need to inform students of their main duties and tasks, the type of work, any associated specific risks and their control measures and remind the students of their responsibilities whilst on a work placement. Parents/guardians will also have to be told of these risks and control measures. There is a place on the Employers’ Section of the approval and consent form where this information can be provided.

Similarly, any particular hazards associated with the work area and the work to be done must be explained and the importance of following safe working practices emphasised. Appropriate safety equipment and protective clothing must be available where appropriate.

It is in everyone’s interest that the employer ensures adequate supervision throughout the placement. Supervisors should be aware of the purpose of work experience, have a good knowledge of Health and Safety and know something about the young person working with them.

An employer’s Health and Safety induction

The main responsibility for the Health and Safety of the student whilst on Work Experience lies with the employer. The employer will need to reinforce Health & Safety responsibilities at the start of their placement through their Induction Process. Fire, First Aid and Accident Reporting procedures must be explained as will other policies that relate to safe working.

Reporting of accidents, incidents and dangerous occurrences

It is the responsibility of the employer to report any accidents, incidents or dangerous occurrences that occur on site by following their normal procedures covered by the RIDDOR 1995 Regulations. The employer must report any such accidents or occurrences to the Headteacher or Work Experience Co-ordinator of the school and the student’s emergency contact person. The telephone number will be on the Approval and Consent Form and in the student’s Work Experience Logbook. 

Data Protection Act

The information provided on the approval and consent form may be stored on paper or electronically and will be used for the purposes of education particularly for the Work Experience Scheme, and used by employers, parents/guardians and the Council for Health and Safety reasons. Employers and parents/guardians will be asked to give consent for this to happen.

Child Protection Issues

Schools will have given consideration to preparing students to deal with and report incidents that they feel uncomfortable with during their work placement. Employers should take account of child protection issues under the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000. It is essential that no employee who has been disqualified from working with children comes in contact with a student on a work placement. If the work placement is a “long term” extended placement i.e. over one term the employer and the school involved must make sure that the provisions for child protection are suitable and conform to the guidance provided by the DfES outlined in “Safeguarding Children in Education”

Contact us

For further information please contact: Carwyn Williams, Education Department, Council Offices, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL55 1SHPhone number: 07770 954981