Work experience placements


The Department frequently offers work experience placements to young persons (defined as those under the age of 18) as well as undergraduate students. Well managed placements are activity encouraged - they provide a valuable opportunity for young students to gain experience e.g. working in a research laboratory. It also provides an opportunity to foster an early understanding of the importance of health and safety and sensible risk management.

Young people and other placement students tend to be at greater risk from hazardous activities due to their lack of knowledge and experience. In some cases the physiology of young people may put them at particular risk, e.g. from ionising radiation. As such, the safety management of all work activities involving young persons need to be carefully considered.

Work in low risk environments (e.g. offices) also needs to be considered. Young people may be unable to relate working with computers with long-term effects they may suffer e.g. work related upper limb disorders. Simple instruction on good computer workstation practices to follow is a reasonable measure that should be applied.

Risk assessment

All work activities involving work experience placements must be risk assessed by completing the Work Experience Placement: Risk assessment (MS Word , 33kb)

The risk assessment must:

  • take account of young peoples' lack of awareness of the risks, their inexperience and immaturity
  • identify significant hazards associated with the work activities
  • identify appropriate control measures required to reduce level of risk to a low and acceptable level

Young persons must not be involved in the following:

  • any activity which is beyond the young person's physical or physiological capability
  • any activity that exposes them to substances that are chronically harmful to human health (e.g. toxic, carcinogenic substances)
  • work that exposes them to harmful radiation
  • work which involves a risk of accidents which they are unlikely to recognise because of e.g. their lack of experience, training or attention to safety
  • work in biological Containment Level 3 Laboratories