Aviva urges employers to give young people a safe start

Article date: 13 July 2009

With the summer holidays upon us, Aviva, the new name for Norwich Union, is urging employers to ensure a safe working environment for young people.

During 2008, there were a number of large loss claims involving workers under the age of 18, due to a mixture of causes including powered machinery and equipment.

Phil Grace, liability risk manager, Aviva’s UK Insurance business, said: “The lack of experience and maturity of young people, as well as a reduced perception of risk, can be extremely dangerous in a working environment, particularly where machinery is involved.

“Assessments to determine the risks associated with any young worker are required by law under the Health and Safety (Young Persons) Regulations 1997.  Following that, the employee must be trained on the necessary control measures, and employers have a duty to ensure their parents or guardians are also aware of any risks involved.” says Grace.

“Where an assessment identifies harmful exposure to toxic substances, radiation, extreme cold or heat, vibration, noise or work which is beyond their physical capacity, it is prohibited to employ a young person to carry out the work.

“This is also the case in specific trades or where the use of certain plant or machinery is required.”

Grace continues: “We urge all employers to seek guidance before employing a young person, which can be found on the HSE website, and to also consider doing so for those aged 18-21 years. These workers will also need additional support and training and risk assessments should be carried out.

“Possible safety measures could include providing extra supervision, more detailed instructions for particular tasks or additional training. 

“In one case, a 17-year old trainee plasterer, who had been working for three days, suffered flesh burns from the caustic in the wet plaster, which resulted in nerve damage.

Some plaster also got in his eye and the worker ended up with reduced visibility.

“Also in 2008, an 18-year old worker was operating a mini-digger.  He tried to lower the roll bar, which is there to protect the driver by preventing the digger from rolling over, and it crushed his fingers.”

Grace concludes: “Both of these accidents could have been avoided with the right training for the employee and by having the right safety equipment.  Good risk management will not only keep young people safe but help to protect all employees and the business itself.”

A risk assessment training course is currently available from Aviva Risk Management Solutions (ARMS), the new name for Norwich Union Risk Services. (www.aviva.co.uk/risksolutions)


For further information, please contact:
Elinor Graveson at Staniforth on 0161 919 8025 or Sally Leeman, Aviva’s UK Insurance press office on 01603 684225/ 07789 270677.

Notes to editors:

Aviva, the international savings, investments and insurance group, is the world’s fifth largest insurance group, serving 50 million customers across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.

In the UK, Aviva is a leading provider of life, pensions, investment, general insurance and health products to more than 20 million customers. We also provide roadside assistance through RAC. Products are distributed through a number of channels including IFAs, brokers, corporate partners and direct to customers via the internet.

Aviva's UK Insurance business has a market share of around 15%, making it the largest general insurer in the UK. The business is focused on insurance for individuals and small businesses.

Aviva's life and pensions business in the UK has a total market share of 12% and a top three position in its key markets of savings, protection, and annuities.

Aviva’s news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media.

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