Protecting young people in the workplace

youngpeople1Our young people represent the future of our businesses and organisations. actively promotes the care of young people in the workplace and this resource provides a starting point for young people looking for a portal for advice on keeping themselves safe and also for employers looking for the main sources of advice on keeping their younger workers safe from harm.

Practical advice on how to improve safety for young workers

All people are at particular risk of injury in the first six months of a job as they may be unaware of existing or potential risks. Young people will frequently be in this category

  • Young people may lack experience or maturity or may be unaware of how to raise concerns.
  • They may not have reached physical maturity and therefore lack the strength demanded
  • They may be eager to impress or please people with whom they work.

Everyone involved in the employment of young people needs to understand:

Young people and the law

Risks to young people at work

Those who employ young people can help them to understand the importance of health and safety at work. It will serve them well not only in their working life, but in their everyday life as well. Sensible health and safety at work is about managing risks rather than expecting them to be eliminated.

Periods of work experience and work-based learning will be the first time that most young people experience the work environment. Good preparation and organisation of placements is essential if these opportunities are to be rewarding and safe introductions to the world of work.

Work experience

Work Experience should be taken to include reference to Work Based Learning. There is a wealth of guidance produced to help those employing young people or involved in work experience. The HSE provides guidelines for those involved with young people at work and on work experience. For authoritative information, follow the links in the text to the specific guidance and refer to the relevant legislation. The new HSE legislation site provides information on the range of health and safety legislation that applies to workplaces in Great Britain. Visit the useful links section to find out about material produced by other organisations.

Young people at work and the law

Risks to young people at work

Hazardous substances

Young people and work experience

FAQ: Young People

News: Young People

Young people at work resources

About young people at work

Young Workers in a European context

Young people are especially vulnerable in the workplace. EU-OSHA reports that “across Europe, 18 to 24-year-olds are at least 50% more likely to be hurt at work than older people. Young people are also more likely to suffer from an occupational illness.”

Young People – Introduction

See all the Agency publications on Young People

The exact risks that they face depend on the type of work that they are doing. Common risks include (from EU-OSHA):

  • slips and trips
  • dangerous equipment
  • lifting loads
  • fast, repetitive work
  • work in awkward positions
  • noise and vibration
  • exposure to chemicals, radiation, extreme heat or cold
  • stress
  • violence from members of the public.

What can I do?

Here are the EU-OSHA links to advice for all concerned:

How do I keep safe? Advice for young workers

What do I have to do? Advice for employers

What do I need to know? Advice for health and safety professionals

How can I teach young people about health and safety? Advice for educators

How can I inform my children about health and safety? Advice for parents

BSC speak up, stay safe logoSpeak up, stay safe

A major area of concern is that young people may lack confidence in speaking out if there’s a problem. Too many young people are being killed, injured or made ill at work. In many cases lack of information, lack of work experience and lack of confidence are to blame. Such tragedies can be avoided by taking some simple actions. That’s why the British Safety Council runs the Speak Up, Stay Safe Campaign.

PPE,org actively promotes the campaign and we would encourage young people to have a look at the resources available to them. There is also a very useful employers’ section.

The game

The films

The hazards and risks


Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.

Contains links and information from EU-OSHA The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

Contains links and information from the British Safety Council is a media partner of EU-OSHA and actively promotes the Healthy Workplaces Campaign.

Put young people at the heart of good health and safety

Protecting Young People in the Workplace by PPE.