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Children in the workplace

Last updated April 2019

This chapter explains your legal obligations to children who are in your workplace – whether they are employees, volunteers, visitors, or attending a school or childcare centre.

What are your health and safety obligations to children in the workplace?

The duty of care you owe under health and safety laws extends to any worker or visitor to the workplace, including a child.

Definition: Child

A child is a person under the age of 15 for the purposes ofemployment, health and safety, and child employment laws.

You have obligations towards children in your workplace who:

  • you employ;
  • are volunteering;
  • are visiting; and
  • are being cared for or educated in a school or childcare centre.

Your obligations to children you employ

You are required to comply with health and safety legislation when you employ children, just as you do with any other worker.

Important: Some health and safety requirements are especially important when employing children, and may need to be tailored for the child, such as training.

In addition to your health and safety obligations, you must comply with child employment laws.

Child employment laws

As children are one of the most vulnerable groups in society, child employment laws in each state and territory regulate their protection. These laws set out the hours they are legally allowed to work and the types of activities they are legally allowed to perform to ensure children are not exploited or put at risk.