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 know their job inside and out, while working student don’t. Their lack of experience makes them even more vulnerable, as they don’t know the risks enough and they often cannot properly assess them. An annual risk analysis of the workstation is therefore mandatory. The risk analysis that you make for your permanent employees is a good starting point.

2. Provide information and training at the start

Make sure that you put a lot of effort in the job induction offered to your working students. Provide adequate information and appropriate training on the risks, safety regulations and procedures in case of emergency and danger. An Employee Information Booklet or checklist where everything is formally listed on paper can be very useful.

The appointment of a mentor is also a good way to welcome the student who can then consult that mentor whenever he or she has questions. An informed working student is worth two!

3. Ask experts about possible prevention measures

Accidents may be avoided by implementing prevention measures. Get advice from the Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work (CPPW/CPBW) and/or the prevention advisor. They have the necessary expertise and can certainly help you, even in determining whether a health check is required. In addition, provide the student with 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 workstation 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.

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.