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OBUHSN-43 Issue 01 May 2011
Oxford Brookes University
Placement provider The placement provider is the third party to whom, during the placement, responsibility for direct supervision of the student is transferred. An HEI (including the student’s own) can also be the placement provider if it is the organisation providing the placement.
Students undertaking the placement.
The following undesirable outcomes could arise from a placement: The student could be injured or suffer ill health as a result of working at a placement provider. The student could be injured or suffer ill health while on placement but not as a result of working at a placement provider. The actions of the student could cause injury or ill health to others, damage to property, or loss of income to a business.
If any of these were to occur, criminal and/or civil action might be taken against the student, the placement provider or its employees, or the HEI or its employees, depending on the circumstances.
For placements outside the UK, the criminal liabilities on each party will be a matter for the enforcing authorities and the courts in both the UK and in the country where the placement occurs. With regard to placements abroad, implementation of this guidance on sensible risk management will address criminal liability under UK law (Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974) for non-employees.
Implementation of this guidance will also provide evidence in defence of charges of negligence under UK Corporate Manslaughter or Gross Negligence Manslaughter legislation.
Placement providers must ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees. This includes assessing the risks employees are exposed to at work and providing training, particularly for new employees. This must include students on work placements. Students on work placements have the same protection under health and safety law as employees.
Risk management principles provide a framework for the general guidance and control measures that are appropriate for managing the diversity of placements, issues, and risks associated with the broad range of potential placements and potential scenarios.
The benefits of a risk-based approach are that requirements for lower risk placements are minimised, whilst resources are concentrated on those placements likely to be higher risk. The risk management approach below must be followed.
The following six health and safety factors applicable to all placements must be considered in the risk assessment and review process:
Work factors: These relate to the placement provider and to the work that the student will be carrying out. They include the nature of the work-based hazards to which the student may be exposed. Control measures may include the professional knowledge and expertise of the student.
Travel and transportation factors: Driving and travel while carrying out the business of the placement provider can be a risk. Placements do not just involve the work carried out for the placement provider. Depending on the nature and location of the placement, the student may face significant health, safety and welfare issues associated with their travel to and from the placement and to and from their accommodation.
Location and/or region factors: The location of the placement can have considerable impact particularly if it is abroad in a country that the student is not acquainted with, though it could apply to international students enrolled at a UK HEI and going on placement in the UK.
General/environmental health factors: The student may face significant health, safety and welfare issues associated with the environmental conditions in their place of work or the general location, their accommodation, or their food and drink.
Individual student factors: Each student is an individual. Their health; their knowledge, skills and experience; and their personality could have an impact on health and safety in particular environments. Students with personal factors (e.g. health, disability, linguistic or cultural) which may require specific adjustments or support should have equivalent opportunities in choice of placements. HEIs should work with placement providers to ensure that access and support requirements will be provided for the student when on placement. HEIs should encourage students with a health condition or disability that may require adjustments or support whilst on placement to disclose this, or to agree for the HEI to disclose information on this when identifying possible providers. Advice on managing placements for disabled students is available in the DfES publication Providing Work Placements for Disabled Students1.
Insurance limitations: Insurance is a means of transferring risk by paying for the provision of professional support and financial recompense if things go wrong. Any assessment must include consideration of the extent and limitations of the insurance arrangements of both the HEI and the placement provider, the contractual arrangements in place and the legal requirements in the country or countries where the placement will take place. It is useful to distinguish between those issues that can be considered by the HEI generally and those issues that are specific to a particular placement.
In that way appropriate insurance policy wordings can be put in place that would deal with most of the issues that may arise.
The workplace placement organiser must ask for details of the health and safety information, instruction, training and supervision that will be given to students.
A visit to the placement providers premises will only be necessary if the risk assessments indicates this.
Placement organisers can seek advice from any of the specialist officers of the University listed in OBUHSN-04. The Safety Officer or his/her nominee and the Occupational Health Advisor are also available for general advice or specific training requirements
To clarify expectations with regard to health and safety related issues for the student, the placement provider and the HEI.
When the student is out on placement, responsibility for looking after their health and safety rests with the student and with the placement provider.
Students should raise any concerns in the first place with their workplace supervisor and then either through the management line or with the Health & Safety contact. If issues are not resolved, then the student should be able to raise the matter with the Placement Organiser by whatever process have established.
Arrangements for placement tutors, usually for academic assessment reasons, to visit the student at the placement provider’s premises may be required. These visits can also be used as one of the processes for assessing whether there are any health and safety issues. Placement tutors should be aware of their surroundings during these visits and raise any matters of concern that they observe with the placement provider. The level of expertise with regard to health and safety that may be expected of a placement tutor will vary depending on their experience, training and discipline. For example, subject-based experience is important for industrial and medical placements.
Students, placement organisers and placement providers undertaking work placements must give careful consideration to the health of the of the participants
Appendix 1 Risk profiling and risk reducing actions
Appendix 2 Risk Assessment form
Appendix 3 Flow Chart