Nature, degree and duration of exposure to physical, biological and chemical agents.
a) Young people are generally at no greater risk from physical agents than adults, and compliance with relevant University policies in relation to noise (S1/06), and non–ionising radiation (S2/09), for example, will satisfy the legislative requirements for young people.
b) In the case of exposure to ionising radiation the health risks may be increased slightly for young people. It is University policy that school-age children under 16 are prohibited from work with ionising radiation. Young people aged 16-18 may only work with ionising radiation if it is necessary for their training and if the risk of exposure has been properly assessed. Procedures must be designed to keep exposure to as low a level as reasonably practicable and by ensuring that they only enter controlled radiation areas in accordance with documented procedures, and under stringent supervision. The statutory annual dose limit for a young worker is less than for an adult, and these annual dose limits must not be exceeded. Further information relating to work with ionising radiation may be found in University Policy Statement (UPS) S1/12.
c) Young workers are no more likely to contract infections from biological agents than adult workers, although, like adults, they may be at greater risk if they suffer from any other diseases, if they are immuno-compromised, or are taking medication, for example. However, departments are reminded of the University’s policy on Biorisk Management, S5/09, and the prohibition on children under 16 entering containment laboratories, except in relation to organised educational activities (e.g. work experience placements or school visits) and then only after appropriate risk assessments have been carried out. The majority of animal facilities also come within the scope of the policy.
d) There is no enhanced risk to young workers from exposure to hazardous substances, although they may lack awareness of the hazards and risks they may encounter in their work, and exhibit less care or attention in handling or disposing of such materials.