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Specific requirements in the Health and Science skill area

This article describes specific requirements that may apply to industry placements in this skill area.

When you get to the detailed preparations for industry placements, you should consider which requirements apply to you with the college, school or other type of provider you are working. You should talk to them about any specific compliance obligations on your business.

Health and safety

There are very few work activities someone on industry placement cannot do due to health and safety law. However, it’s important to remember that the employer will have primary responsibility for the health and safety of the student and should be managing any significant risks.

There are activities that young people are legally prohibited from doing. The employer will need to consider whether the work the young person will do:

  • is beyond their physical or psychological capacity. This doesn’t have to be complicated; it could be as simple as checking a young person is capable of safely lifting weights and of remembering and following instructions.
  • involves harmful exposure to substances that are toxic, can cause cancer, can damage or harm an unborn child, or can chronically affect human health in any other way.
  • involves harmful exposure to radiation. Ensure a young person’s exposure to radiation is restricted and does not exceed the allowed dose limit.
  • involves risk of accidents that cannot reasonably be recognised or avoided by young people due to their insufficient attention to safety or lack of experience or training.
  • has a risk to health from extreme cold, heat, noise or vibration. In most cases, young people will not be at any greater risk than adults, and for workplaces that include these hazards it is likely there will already be control measures in place.

A young person might be unfamiliar with ‘obvious’ risks. You should consider the need for tailored induction training and/or closer supervision.

Sensitive data

You may be asking students to handle confidential and sensitive information, for example pharmaceutical testing data, or patient records. Students will need to clearly understand that discussing patients, samples, information, photographs, reports that they may see or use during their placement, is not appropriate, whether face to face or online.

You could also ask the college or school to pre-brief students on your organisation’s policies and processes for data protection, handling patient and client data, IT security, devices and their appropriate use.

Disclosure and Barring Service

Generally, employers are not legally obliged to carry out a basic, standard or enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on members of staff supervising young people aged 16 or 17.

The school or college you are working with, may request that the manager or supervisor working with the student undergoes a basic DBS check in situations where they feel this is necessary. For example, where a student is considered vulnerable, they have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), or have been in care, or where they are likely to be alone regularly with the adult as part of their placement, it is expected practice to request a DBS check. You can agree with the school or college who meets these costs.

Students may need to have an enhanced DBS check before starting an industry placement in certain health organisations, for example when working with young children where you would need to check that that students are not barred from regulated activity relating to children. The school or college you are working with can cover these costs from the T Level industry placement funding.

Security checks

In some sensitive areas, such as pharmaceutical testing, screening or security checks may be needed in advance of placements starting. If you have specific procedures, you can work through the college or school to pass screening documentation to students.

The legal compliance article gives you more general information about your main responsibilities and provides links to detailed guidance and resources.

The content in this resource is for information only and does not constitute advice. Suggestions or considerations are offered for you to take into account. It’s your responsibility, supported by your college or school, to comply with any legal duties that you might have.

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