Keeping students safe
Student safety during workplace learning is our priority.
Workplace learning must be suitable to ensure student safety. We maintain our duty of care for students while they are on work placement or work experience.
Dangerous, high-risk or unsuitable workplace learning is not allowed.
Prohibited activities include:
- where asbestos is present
- high-risk construction work, working on or in a roof, demolition work, tunnels and excavation
- air travel on a helicopter or other aircraft – except those providing a regular public transport service like a regular route for paying passengers
- travelling more than 12 nautical miles out to sea
- those requiring a permit or licence, unless the student already holds the permit or licence, such as forklift driving
- scuba and deep-sea diving
- any work of a sexual or explicit nature
- the service of alcohol if the student is under 18
- If the student is over 18, alcohol service must be essential to the workplace learning and agreed to by the school or external vocational education and training (EVET) provider. Students must hold a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) competency card or certificate.
For a detailed list of activities students can't participate in, read Prohibited workplace activities (DOCX 44.45KB).
Activities for special consideration
Some workplace activities are potentially high-risk. Inexperience and a lack of awareness can also increase the chances of a young worker being injured.
Host employers must closely supervise students to keep them safe.
The following activities have special requirements before they can be considered for workplace learning.
Working on ladders and at heights is potentially an area of risk, please refer to the link below for advice and information:
Working Safely at Heights (PDF 200 KB)
Before working in the construction industry, students must:
- complete work health and safety induction training
- obtain a SafeWork NSW general construction induction card (white card).
- The training package and SafeWork NSW mandate delivery and assessment via face to face or real time audio and visual media. The department recognises the validity of both forms of delivery and assessment. Schools are in the best position to understand the learning style of their students when determining the mode of delivery of the white card, ensuring the safety of the student is paramount.
- Where a student has obtained a White Card issued by another state or territory prior to April 2019, the school must undertake additional actions to meet its duty of care obligations. The school must have evidence that the student has the requisite knowledge and skills to work safely and will not pose a risk to themselves or others.
- A white card is not valid if the student has not undertaken work in the construction industry, such as workplace learning, in the 2 years since the white card was issued.
Where there is concern regarding the student’s ability to manage their own safety and the safety of others on a construction site, irrespective of holding a White Card, the school principal should not approve the activity. Ultimately, the school principal is responsible for meeting duty of care requirements.
Workplace supervisors must carry out an induction for students, including training in procedures and how to manage site-specific risks. Handling and operating of all tools and equipment must be explained, along with associated risk management.
Some tools and equipment are prohibited, contact the school or EVET provider for further information.
Working with horses and livestock can be dangerous, no matter how experienced the student. Any workplace learning involving horses or livestock needs extreme caution.
Schools must comply with the following additional precautions for students working or riding horses during workplace learning.
- Host employers must follow the SafeWork NSW code of practice 'Managing risks when new or inexperienced riders or handlers interact with horses in the workplace'. Schools should keep records in accordance with the factors described in the code of practice:
- Appendix B – assessing a horse
- Appendix C – assessing a new or inexperienced rider or handler who will interact with horses in the workplace.
Students must learn how to reduce the risk of Q fever infection and receive the NSW Health – Q fever fact sheet before attending.
Additionally, students must not be exposed to Q fever bacteria through:
- observing or assisting with animal birthing
- handling birth products
- cleaning up birth products and animal excreta
- handling an animal's carcass.
Students can't drive the cars or trucks of employers, clients or their own during workplace learning.
Quad bikes, 2-wheel motorbikes and farm vehicles
Schools and EVET providers must undertake the following precautions before students use farm vehicles, quad bikes or motorbikes.
- Students must successfully complete the appropriately accredited training course for the operation and maintenance of the machinery and equipment. This includes tractors, implements, equipment attached to a tractor power take-off, side-by-side utility vehicles and so on.
- Students with a long record of safe use of quad bikes or motor bikes on farms might not need to complete accredited training. This decision is made on a case-by-case basis.
- Host employers complete a risk assessment to ensure the activity is safe for students. These are submitted to the school or EVET manager before workplace learning approval.
- Students must be closely supervised when using any vehicles, machinery or equipment.
- When riding quad bikes and motorbikes, students must be at least 16 and wear:
- an approved helmet with strap fastened
- eye protection such as goggles
- hand protection such as gloves
- a long-sleeved shirt and full-length pants
- sturdy footwear such as boots.
Students with little or no experience mustn't operate vehicles, machinery or equipment unless the host employer has demonstrated substantial experience in providing quality training to manage the student under close supervision.
A risk assessment must be conducted prior to students driving golf carts. Students are to be closely supervised.
If a student is sick or injured, host employers must seek immediate medical help. Call 000 in an emergency.
The student carries a contact card with emergency contact details and their Medicare number. Emergency contacts must be available while the student is at workplace learning.
Host employers will contact the school and EVET provider, where relevant, as soon as possible about a sick or injured student. Workers compensation claims are not lodged.
See below for teacher and host employer workplace learning accident quick guides.
Teacher's accident quick guide (PDF 139 KB)
Host employer's accident quick guide (PDF 130 KB)
Insurance and indemnity provisions apply to all approved workplace learning. Claims for injury, loss of property or damage above $300 may be considered. Detailed out-of-pocket expenses under $300 are managed by the school or EVET provider.
- Visit the department's Business services website (staff only) for further information on insurance during workplace learning.
- View the department's public liability certificate of currency.
For more information or advice, contact the senior pathways team.