Safety Services


Young persons

This page provides guidance on how to safely manage young persons and work experience workers at UCL.

On this page:


A young person is any individual who is under 18 years of age. This does not include children which are individuals under the minimum school leaving age (MSLA).

Young persons may be on UCL premises or involved in UCL activities for a variety of reasons:

  • they are a UCL employee (trainee or apprentice),
  • they are enrolled on a course of study (i.e. a student),
  • they are undertaking work experience/work shadowing provided by a UCL department,
  • they are a visitor (e.g. an educational trip or open day).

Working hours

There are extra rights in place for young persons working hours and rest breaks. They must::

  • not work more than 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week.
  • have a minimum 30-minute break if their working day is longer than 4.5 hours.
  • have a minimum 12 hours’ rest in any 24-hour period in which they work (for example, between one working day and the next).
  • have a minimum 2 rest days taken together, each week.
  • not work before 7am or after 10pm.


Young persons are seen as being particularly at risk because of:

  • their possible inexpeirnce and immaturity,
  • lack of awareness of existing or potential risks.

Risk assessments should exist covering workspaces/work activities in UCL and there should already be suitable control measures in place. Consider whether you need to do anything further to control the risks to young people.

At UCL, young persons should not undertake work that:

  • cannot be adapted to allow for a physical or mental limitation.
  • involves working alone or unsupervised.
  • exposes them to toxic or cancer causing substances.
  • takes place in Containment Level 3 laboratories.
  • takes place on construction sites.
  • involves extreme heat, noise or vibration.
  • involves workshop machinery (e.g. grinding wheels, lathes, cutting and drilling machines).

Training and supervision

Many young people are likely to be new to the workplace and in some cases will be facing unfamiliar risks, from the job they will be doing and from their surroundings. You will need to provide them with clear and sufficient instruction, training and supervision to enable them to work without putting themselves and other people at risk.

  • Ensure young people have completely understood the safety induction.
  • Consider how much other training after the induction is necessary. A proportionate approach is needed to balance the amount of information that is given and how effectively it will be understood. Training should be appropriately scheduled to prevent overloading the young worker.
  • Young people are likely to need more supervision than adults. Good supervision will help you get a clear idea of the young person’s capabilities and progress in the job and monitor the effectiveness of their training.
  • Ensure young people know how to raise any health and safety concerns.


Heads of Department

The following responsibilities are in addition to the Head of Departments general duties as described in UCLs Organisation & Arrangements for Safety.

The Head of Department must:

  • give permission for anyone under the age of 18 to work or study in the Department;
  • ensure that UCLs Child Protection (Safeguarding) Policy is implemented.
Departmental Managers, Principal Investigators and Supervisors

The following responsibilities are in addition to Departmental Managers, Principal Investigators and Supervisors general duties as described in UCLs Organisation & Arrangements for Safety.

Managers or Supervisors must ensure:

  • the work plan, risk assessment and levels of supervision take account of the limitations of the individual;
  • the individual understands that they must take reasonable care of their own health and safety and that of other people who may be affected by their actions, and co-operate with UCL's and/or the host departments arrangements for managing safety;
  • parental or guardian consent has been obtained.

NB in some circumstances direct supervision will be necessary, in other circumstances the supervisor's presence in the workplace will be sufficient.

Work experience

This section relates specifically to the provision of work experience at UCL and must be implemented in addition to the requirements relating to young people.


A work experience person (WEP) is a pupil or student from an organisation outside UCL, usually a school or college, placed at UCL for the purpose of work experience. From a health and safety management perspective, they are regarded as employees of the Department providing that work experience.

Work organisers (WO) are organisations e.g. schools, colleges, Careers Service Company or a local education authority that identify work experience opportunities for young people.  In some circumstances the WO may be the parent or guardian of the young individual.

Work providers (WP) are UCL Departments/Institutes which provide work experience for individuals.


The WO may request the following:

  • UCL's Health and Safety Policy.
  • UCL's insurance arrangements (Employers Liability and Occupiers Liability). 
  • Departmental (Institute, School etc.) Health and Safety Policy.
  • Name and contact details of the supervisor/manager who will be responsible for the WEP.
  • Induction arrangements that are undertaken.
  • A description of the work and any associated restrictions.
  • A visit to the workplace prior to placing a young individual on work experience.

The WP must appoint a supervisor for the WEP who, in addition to the requirements set out for young people, will ensure that:

  • For the purposes of insurance, UCL Finance must be informed that a young individual is on work experience.
  • They have the contact details of the WO.
  • They are provided with information relating to the WEP who may be at greater risk because of health or learning difficulties.
  • Any significant hazards and associated control measures in the risk assessment are communicated to the WO and the WEP before the start date
  • A work plan is documented and communicated to the WO and the WEP.
  • A safety induction is documented according to the UCL's requirements.
  • The WEP is informed of areas and activities which are prohibited.

The WP must also keep the following records:

  • Work plan
  • Risk assessment
  • Induction checklist
  • Training and information provided

Last updated: Monday, August 3, 2020

Further information

UCL Guidance
UCL Safeguarding Policy
UCL Insurance

Supplementary Guidance
Young Workers (HSE)
Young Workers (RoSPA)