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September 17, 2009

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Guidance- greater flexibility in student placements

New guidance for placement officers responsible for third-level students embarking on work experience has been released by the Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association.

The UCEA health and safety guidance for the placement of higher-education students was developed in association with Universities Safety and Health Association (USHA) and Higher Education Occupational Physicians/Practitioners (HEOPS).

Professor Noel Lloyd, vice-chancellor of Aberystwyth University and chair of UCEA’s Health and Safety Committee commented: “Student placements are an essential element to many degree programmes, offering students important and valuable experience of the workplace. This new guidance provides a generic framework for considering and managing health and safety issues relating to placements.”

Alan Cowen, chair of USHA, added: “The revision of the sector guidance reflects an updated approach, based upon well-understood principles of the assessment of risk and hazards. The new methodology allows for greater flexibility and the simplification of the evaluation and approval of many low-risk work placement situations, as well as generic assessments. Institutions can further adapt the risk assessment process to incorporate their own risk assessment procedures.”

The new document also updates guidance in relation to the problems associated with more hazardous work placements and overseas situations. USHA will be assisting the sector in developing practical training courses for placement coordinators and practitioners as well as hosting a resource area on its website in support of the new guidance.

It is available here.

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