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Young persons

A young person is defined as a person between the age of 16 and 18.

Risk assessment

Managers must carry out a risk assessment before a young person starts working. This includes trainees and work experience students.

You must assess risk arising from:

  • lack of experience
  • not being aware of existing or potential risks
  • activities that may involve harmful exposure to biological and chemical agents

Young persons must not be employed if the risk assessment shows that the work:

  • is beyond their physical or psychological capacity
  • involves harmful exposure to agents which are toxic or carcinogenic
  • involves harmful exposure to radiation
  • involves the risk of accidents because of lack of experience or training
  • is a health risk because of exposure to extreme heat, cold, noise or vibration

Generic risk assessment form (Word, 50 KB, 2 pages)

Restrictions on hours

There are restrictions on the number of hours a young person may work.

These restrictions include:

  • not being permitted to work between 10pm and 6am
  • not being allowed to work for more than 8 hours a day
  • not being allowed to work for more than 40 hours in a week

Young workers must be given a number of breaks.

These breaks include:

  • 30 minute break after working 4.5 hours
  • 12 hours rest in every 24 hour period worked
  • 2 days off each week - these should be consecutive days off where practicable

Related document

Generic risk assessment fillable form template (Word, 132 KB, 2 pages)

Contact HSE Health and Safety helpdesk

Use the Health and Safety self-service portal or

Phone: 1800 420 420

Monday to Friday 10.30am to 12 noon and 2.00pm to 3.30pm