Protected groups—employees specifically at risk
The Management Regulations 1999 identify two particular types of workers that employers must pay special attention to whilst carrying out risk assessments: children and young persons, and new and expectant mothers.
Children and young persons
A child is defined as a person not over compulsory school age, in accordance with the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 as amended. In practice, a child is defined as anyone under 16 years old. A young person is defined as anyone under the age of 18 but older than 16 years old.
The Management Regulations 1999 require employers to consider several factors in their risk assessments when employing young persons (i.e. anyone under 18 years old). These include the inexperience, lack of awareness of risks, and immaturity of young persons as well as workplace and workstation layout; exposure to physical, chemical and biological agents; use and handling of work equipment; work processes and activities; and health and safety training.
The Health and Safety (Training for Employment) Regulations 1990 give students on work experience programmes and trainees on training for employment programmes the legal status of "employee", therefore protecting them under health and safety legislation. Similarly, young people in work experience placements arranged by schools, colleges or local authorities in most cases undertake relevant training and are therefore protected.
New and expectant mothers
The Management Regulations 1999 require that employers carry out risk assessments for any specific risks to female employees or volunteers of childbearing age, and new or expectant mothers and their babies. The risk assessment does not have to be a separate risk assessment; it can be undertaken as part of an overall risk assessment of the workplace.
Congregations employing young persons or new or expectant mothers should seek additional advice on health and safety from the Church of Scotland General Trustees, and on employment law from the Church of Scotland Law Department or other suitable resource.