5 rules of thumb for a successful collaboration with working students

You can hire working students to fill in short-term vacancies during the summer months. Follow those five rules of thumb to make sure their holiday job will be an enriching and safe experience.

1. Identify specific risks for working students

Your permanent employees are intimately familiar with all the ins and outs of the job, but working students are not. Their lack of experience makes them particularly vulnerable, as they are insufficiently aware of the risks and are often unable to assess them properly. We therefore strongly recommend carrying out a risk analysis or establishing whether an existing risk analysis is still valid. The risk analysis carried out for your permanent employees is a good starting point.

2. Provide information and training at the start

Make sure to devote ample attention to the reception and orientation of your working students. Provide sufficient information and appropriate training on the risks, safety rules and procedures in case of emergencies and hazards. A welcome brochure or checklist in which everything is written down formally on paper can be very useful.

A successful start should include a mentor: a designated employee who can help the working student with all kinds of questions. After all, prevention is better than cure!

3. Ask experts about possible prevention measures

Prevention measures can prevent accidents. Get advice from the Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work and/or prevention officer. They have the necessary expertise and chances are they can help, also in considering whether a health assessment is needed. Also make sure to provide the necessary protective work clothing and personal protective equipment.

4. Don’t give students tasks that are too difficult

Only entrust working students with tasks that they can physically and mentally handle.

Avoid contact with:

  • harmful substances (such as certain germs, or carcinogenic chemicals);
  • ionising radiation;
  • extreme temperatures, vibrations or noise;
  • hazardous machinery.

Adult working students who have sufficient prior knowledge due to their line of study are the exception. In industry, these may include someone training as a welder, or a student nurse who is familiar with the dangers of germ contamination in health care.

5. Respect the legislation relating to transport equipment operation by working students

Strict rules apply to the operation of transport equipment by working students. Unsurprisingly since an accident with transport equipment can cause serious material and physical damage.

If the means of transport is a motorised transport vehicle, working students are forbidden to operate it at any time. However, there are exceptions for certain types of motorised vehicles, such as pallet jacks. Some conditions also apply to non-motorised vehicles. Check out this handy overview for more information.

Don't forget the workstation sheet!

Every working student must receive a safety sheet from you or the temping agency. It lists:

  • the place of employment;
  • the possible risks;
  • instructions;
  • information on health surveillance;
  • information about personal protective equipment;
  • prohibited activities;
  • preventive measures to avoid accidents.

Good to know: what happens in the case of an accident at work or illness?

The same rules apply to working students as to other employees.
A sick student:

  • informs you immediately;
  • provides you with a medical certificate within two days.

If victim of an accident at work or on the way to work, your working student:

  • informs you;
  • notifies his or her health insurance fund;
  • and your insurance will cover the costs.

Working safely as a student: avoiding classic risks and corona infection

Because every holiday job has its own risks, we have listed the most important points of attention per sector allowing students to work safely.
hospitality industry
- in an office
- the recreation sector

Specifically to minimise the risk of corona infection, you can provide students with this Last Minute Risk Analysis Corona. This helps them to assess correctly whether they can carry out a task safely. Download the infographic Last Minute Risk Analysis corona.

Display these documents or give them to your student(s) before they start their holiday job.

Questions about safety at work?

Mensura provides risk analyses and professional guidance tailored to your organisation. If you have specific questions, we will be happy to answer them. You can call us on +32 2 549 71 00.