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Work Experience: Accidents

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families on how many occasions the board of his Department and its predecessor discussed children's workplace accidents since 2002. (220900)

[holding answer 22 July 2008]: Since 2002, the Board of the Department for Children, Schools and Families and its predecessor has not specifically discussed children's workplace accidents.

Prevention of accidents has been given a new focus by this Government as it forms one of the key strands of work in Public Service Agreement 13 "Improve children and young people's safety." A cross Government priority review of accident prevention has also just begun which was a key commitment in the Staying Safe: Action Plan (February 2008). The review is likely to make recommendations to Ministers in autumn 2000.

Prior to a work experience placement a health and safety check will be carried out, either directly by a school or by an Education Business Partnership Organisation on

behalf of a school. Advice, if it is needed, is given to the employer to help them take account of the young person's level of maturity. Health and safety of everyone on an employer's premises is the responsibility of the employer.

The DGSF Board regularly considers progress against the work set out in all its PSAs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what use his Department makes of children’s work experience accident data in terms of (a) accountability and ownership of risk and (b) appropriate reporting procedures; (220901)

(2) how many children under the age of 16 years have been involved in accidents while undertaking vocational work experience since 2002.

[holding answer 22 July 2008]: It is our policy that all young people have the opportunity to benefit from work experience and we estimate that around 95 per cent. do so, amounting to over half a million placements each year during key stage 4, the final two years of compulsory education. We have published a new standard for work experience which includes specific references to roles and responsibilities for the health and safety of young people. Records of accidents during school hours, including those occurring during work experience, are held by schools who have the primary duty of care. Employers are also responsible for everyone on their premises. The Department for Children, Schools and Families does not collect or hold such data centrally but anecdotal evidence suggests that, with such a massive volume of placements, the track record on safety is first rate and a credit to everyone involved.