Work placements – Obligations of an educator (WHS in NT schools)

Does school have an obligation to a student if the school provides the work placement in the Northern Territory?

While some might argue that school is not responsible, prevention is always better than cure. So, there are a number of considerations that both employers and educators will need to take into account before the work placement:

  • Does the workplace have a documented WHS policy, developed in consultation with employees, stating a commitment to a safe workplace?
  • Is there a process for consulting with all employees on WHS matters and enabling employees to report hazards?
  • Is there a specific induction programme for workplace students and does it include training on evacuation and emergency procedures, and safe and correct work practices, including the use of tools, machinery and equipment?
  • Are all foreseeable hazards that may cause injury to work placement students and other workers identified and controlled?
  • Are records of previous student placements including time spent at the workplace, details of induction, training, incidents and injuries reviewed?
  • Does the workplace have sufficient staffing resources to provide skilled and close supervision that students on a work placement are likely to require?

These are just a couple of questions schools might consider while providing work placement.

It is important to remember that for many work placement is the first taste of employment and the student will not be able to compare this experience to any other experience in his life and that is why students are particularly vulnerable to unsafe practices.