There is a long list of special regulations and provisions which apply if minors under 18 are employed within an enterprise. The regulations cover age limits, working hours, types of task and technical aids, etc.
Some of the most important regulations in respect of the working environment for minors are described here. These are also described in connection with the individual items of machinery and tools in this manual.
Minors under 18 are generally not permitted to work with:
- Hazardous substances and materials (hazard labelled) or in rooms in which these products are in use and the minor may be affected.
- Lifting of loads in excess of 12 kg.
- Pulling and pushing which may damage the health of the minor.
- Monotonous work that places a strain on the body over longer periods.
- Hazardous machinery and technical aids, e.g. cutting tools, chainsaws, transporters, cranes and other lifting gear, welding equipment, vibrating hand tools, excavation and loading machinery.
- Work which involves a risk of falling or collapse.
If there are minors under 18 employed within the enterprise, the risks which young people may face within the enterprise must be described separately within the enterprise’s place of work assessment (APV). However, the APV requirement does not include family enterprises or work in the employer’s private household.
Training and instruction
The employer must ensure that minors receive thorough training and instruction so that they can carry out their work entirely correctly. While working, minors must be under the effective supervision of a person aged over 18 and who has the necessary insight into the work.
Contact with parents
Employers employing minors under the age of 15 or who are of school age must notify the minor’s parents or carers of their employment; that is to say, information on working hours, any risk of accidents and illness, etc.
Minors and students on vocational training
Many of the general prohibitions cited which are applicable to minors are not applicable to minors over the age of 15 if this work forms a necessary part of vocational training aimed at giving them skills. Typically, this covers the traditional apprentice courses, as well as students doing practical training as part of a basic vocational course (EGU students). Or if minors have completed their vocational training before they reach the age of 18.
Irrespective of whether or not minors under 18 are undergoing training, there are still prohibitions preventing their employment for:
- Work processes which involve a risk of explosion.
- Work which involves handling pressure bottles.
- Work under high air pressure in pressure chambers or during diving work, for example.
- Work which may involve a risk of suffocations in an oxygen-poor atmosphere.
- Work in which minors would be subject to physical loads which in the short or long term would be harmful to their health or development, as well as unnecessary physical strain, and inappropriate working positions or movements must be avoided. This means that:
- minors must not do work where the tempo is determined by a machine.
- Lifting of heavy weights must normally not exceed 12 kg.
- The total load during manual pulling or pulling must not constitute a risk to health and safety.
- Work which involves requirements for constant manual handling which involve force or cause physical strain must be restricted to short periods.