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Young People in the Workplace

Young worker
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It is always great to see workplaces employing young people. It is a good way to provide them with experience, however, there may be new or different risks that you will need to manage. There are also certain work types young people must not be around or do.

Acknowledging the Risk

We all have heard someone within a workplace saying that health and safety is ‘common sense’, however, everyones common sense is different depending on their upbringing, culture, life experience and their age.

When employing young people it is important to explain the different hazards and risks on site, as they may have never been around that type of work before, and their level of maturity could hinder their perception of risk.

Take the time to explain the tasks, the hazards and risks involved to young people. Ensure they understand, are supervised and answer any questions they might have along the way. Before leaving them unsupervised to complete a task ensure they are confident and competent.

Work Areas

There are certain work areas young people must not be in (some exceptions apply).

Can’t be in:

• Areas where goods are being prepared or made for trade or sale

• Areas where there is construction work

• Areas where there is logging or tree-felling

• Areas where hazardous substances are being made or used

• Any area where the work is likely to cause harm to a young person

Can be in:

Young people can be in the areas listed above if:

• They are under the direct supervision that is appropriate for the age and nature of the work

• On a guided tour

• In retail areas

• In public areas


A young person can ride in the cab of a truck as a worker is delivering goods, provided the supervising worker has assessed the risk and taken steps to reduce the likelihood of that risk causing harm (eg removing car keys when getting out of the car to deliver a package).

*This list was sourced from WorkSafe NZ. WorkSafe NZ defines a young person as someone under 15 years old.

Work and Tasks

Young workers don’t have the skills or physical ability to do certain work. Work and tasks should be age appropriate, scheduled during appropriate hours and supervised where needed. Some exceptions apply.


A young worker can work in the office for a newspaper company, assisting with paperwork, filing and newspaper runs. They can observe the daily operations of the business and other workers, but should not work with the printing press machinery.

*This list was sourced from WorkSafe NZ. WorkSafe NZ defines a young person as someone under 15 years old.

Need Assistance?

Our team are available if you require assistance with risk assessments.

Please contact us if you require any advice

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