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August 12, 2016

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Better safety information and advice needed for firms employing apprentices

A report has found that better advice and information is needed for employers to ensure the health and safety of their apprentices.

An inquiry into the health and safety arrangements for apprentices, launched by RoSPA’s National Occupational Safety and Health Committee (NOSHC), found a dearth of safety information for companies due to a lack of data, and a misunderstanding of who a “typical” apprentice is.

Much of the safety advice currently available assumes that the apprentice will be aged 24 or under, male, and working in a manual trade, whereas a recent House of Commons paper shows that the typical apprentice is 25 or older, female, and in the service sector.

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With the number of apprentices in the UK set to triple to 3 million by 2020, NOSHC will now work with multidisciplinary partnerships to extend and enhance available information.

Martin Isles, chairman of RoSPA’s National Occupational Safety & Health Committee, said: “The timing of the report is particularly pertinent as it coincides with employers urging the government in Westminster to delay and re-design the levy on apprenticeships which, from April 2017, is set to transfer the cost of apprenticeships from the state onto all employers with a payroll exceeding £3m.”

Dr Karen McDonnell, RoSPA’s occupational safety and health policy adviser, said: “Safe and healthy work at all ages is fundamentally important – it is essential that employees at every stage of their working life are targeted with the right information at the right time.

“NOSHC believes that compiling data by age and across a range of industries, instead of conflating statistics, will be a good start.

“There is also a need for health and safety advice for those placing trainees, guidance for schools for engaging the future workforce early – including in traineeships – and targeted health-specific advice for those apprentices with disabilities.”

Employers interested in working with NOSHC should contact Dr McDonnell on [email protected].

The full report can be seen here: www.rospa.com/rospaweb/docs/advice-services/occupational-safety/noshc/rospa-inquiry-into-apprentices-report.pdf

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