Health and Safety
As an employer you have a responsibility to take all practicable steps to ensure the health and safety of your employees.
You also have duties to identify, assess and manage hazards, and ensure suitable supervision and adequate training.
There are some particular rules under health and safety legislation that restrict what young people can do:
If an employee is younger than 15:
- They can’t be employed to do any work that is likely to harm them, such as using machines, driving or riding tractors or forklifts or lifting heavy loads
- They can’t work on-site in logging, manufacturing or construction
- There is a limited exemption for driving/riding tractors if the young person lives on the farm or works as an independent contractor. This lets them drive or ride tractors for agricultural work if they are over the age of 12, but only if they are fully trained or being trained in the safe operation of the tractor and any implement being towed.
If they are younger than 16:
- They can’t work at night (10pm-6am) unless this is in accordance with an “approved code of practice” that is in place
Young people on training or work experience must be treated as if they were employees.
If you are a principal who engages young people as contractors, you need to take all practicable steps to ensure they are not harmed while doing any work they’re engaged to do.