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Student Work Experience

Safety Policy Arrangement 45-2010 (rev. 2013)

 

Policy Statement

The University of Dundee acknowledges that work experience has an essential role in the education and development of students. However, the University recognises the health and safety risks arising primarily from the inexperience of students and so is committed to reducing these risks through a comprehensive risk management programme. This programme is fully integrated into the overarching Student Placements- Policy which is part of the Quality Assurance Framework.

Arrangements

The Student Placements-Policy at http://www.dundee.ac.uk/qf/qualityassurance/teachingcollaborations/studentplacementspolicy/ outlines the arrangements for establishing and approving appropriate placements, and for their management. 

Placement Managers are responsible for carrying out risk assessments that consider work factors, travel and transportation, general/ environmental health factors, location and/or region, individual student factors and insurance limitations. They should involve students in the risk assessment process, so that both parties can make an informed decision about the suitability of the placement.  The level of the student’s involvement will depend upon the level of risk, i.e. straightforward low risk work experience minimal discussion; high risk considerable discussion and participation in risk assessment process.  These assessments should be reviewed after reported injuries or ill health, and annually taking into account feedback from students and the placement provider. 

For the majority of placements in a reputable organisation in the UK fulfilling the requirements of the Student Placements-Policy will ensure the risks are managed, i.e. there is no need to complete a specific risk assessment. A specific risk assessment will always be required:

  1. for work overseas
  2. when there is uncertainty over insurance arrangements
  3. when there is concern over a students suitability for the placement
  4. for work in small organisations when there is uncertainty over the robustness of their risk management system

The Placement Manager must discuss the specific risk assessment with their Dean or Director and obtain their approval. In exceptional circumstances the risks may be unacceptable and in these rare cases the Dean/Director will not give approval, or may require the student to return home if they have already travelled.

For travel to a part of a country where the Foreign & Commonwealth Office have advised against travel the approval of the Senior Management Team must be obtained by the Dean/Director.

In addition, when a student has disclosed a disability then an inclusive risk assessment must be carried out.  Guidance on undertaking inclusive risk assessments and arranging work placements for disabled students can be found at http://www.dundee.ac.uk/disabilityservices/resources/usefullinks/workplacementsandfieldtrips/.

Students must ensure Placement Managers are made aware of any health or other issues relevant to the risk assessment.  They should participate openly and honestly in the risk assessment process and should comply with the measures outlined in the risk assessment.  They must report any concerns to the placement provider, and unresolved concerns to the Placement Manager.

Safety Services can provide advice and training in risk assessments.

Guidance on Student Work Experience Risk Assessment

This guidance is based upon UCEA Health and Safety Guidance for the placement of higher education students: http://www.ucea.ac.uk/en/publications/index.cfm/HSplace.

For the majority of placements in a reputable organisation in the UK fulfilling the requirements of the Student Placements-Policy will ensure the risks are managed, i.e. there is no need to complete a specific risk assessment. A specific risk assessment will always be required:

  1. for work overseas
  2. when there is uncertainty over insurance arrangements
  3. when there is concern over a students suitability for the placement
  4. for work in small organisations when there is uncertainty over the robustness of their risk management system

In addition, when a student has disclosed a disability then an inclusive risk assessment must be carried out.  Guidance on undertaking inclusive risk assessments and arranging work placements for disabled students can be found at http://www.dundee.ac.uk/disabilityservices/resources/usefullinks/workplacementsandfieldtrips/ .

Specific risk assessments must consider work factors, travel and transportation, location and/or region, general/ environmental health factors, individual student factors and insurance limitations.

Work factors should be addressed by confirming with the Placement Provider that the student’s prior competency is satisfactory, and that appropriate training and supervision will be provided throughout.  In rare cases a pre-placement site visit may be required, and H&S checks made by visiting staff e.g. tutors, placement managers.

Travel and transportation factors should be addressed by using reputable travel organisations whenever possible, and by careful planning of journeys.  If the placement involves the student driving then their licenses, insurances, and knowledge of local driving rules should be checked.

Location and/or regional factors should be addressed by checking the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for advice and information about travel restrictions (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice).  The student’s knowledge of local laws, customs, unacceptable behaviours and language should be checked.  A briefing with someone with experience of working in that location should be arranged.   A local tutor should be appointed to provide instruction on arrival in local procedures for fire, and other emergencies such as illness or accident, and local advice on personal security, as well as on-going support.  A reliable means of communication with the University, relatives and friends should be available and the frequency of contact agreed.  Arrangements for an emergency should be agreed with the student e.g. use of University emergency number, contact details of next of kin. 

General/ environmental health factors should be addressed by checking the Department of Health’s website for general medical advice for travellers: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/travelhealth/Pages/Travelhealthhome.aspx  An appointment should be made with GP or travel clinic several months in advance so that necessary immunisations and prophylactic drugs can be given.  Further information can be found at:

https://www.dundee.ac.uk/student-services/health/.  For some locations you may be advised to carry an emergency medical kit.   For unavoidable work in extreme climate conditions appropriate clothing should be available, and for hot climates sun block and drinking water readily available though avoiding having to work in these conditions is the preferred option.

Individual student factors such as physical and mental health issues, pregnancy, linguistic or cultural factors should be discussed in detail with the student and if appropriate the placement provider so that appropriate adjustments can be made.  Disability Support Services and University Health Service can be contacted for advice.

Insurance limitations should be addressed by contacting Finance Manager (Assets and Insurances) to ensure necessary insurances are in place.

Contact Safety Services for advice on risk assessments.  Appendix 1 gives a typical risk assessment for working overseas. Appendix 2 gives a checklist of some risks when working overseas.  Appendix 3 gives checklists for overseas trips, food hygiene, accommodation and personal safety.  These checklists may be helpful in briefing students, and checking their knowledge and preparations.  The Student Travel Handbook is available at (http://www.dundee.ac.uk/safety). Appendix 4 gives a suitable risk assessment form, and Appendix 5 a risk management form provided by UCEA.

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