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Children in the Workplace and Study Environment Policy
The University recognises that at times there will be children at the workplace due to parenting or carer requirements. This policy outlines the terms for bringing children on campus or to any other place where work is undertaken, including obtaining permission and the responsibilities of parents/ carers in relation to their supervision, health and safety and that of others, and the rights of other people to have a conducive environment for work and study.
This policy applies to all members of Council, staff, affiliates, students and visitors of the University.
A person (other than a Staff member or Student) who is affiliated with JCU by letter of appointment or invitation to work, research or study at the University for a particular activity and for a prescribed timeframe and who is bound to comply with the University’s policies during that period.
A parent, guardian or an adult person engaged by the parent or guardian who is responsible for a child or children.
Child / Children
People under the age of 15, not enrolled as a JCU student.
Any approved work / activity including study or research conducted by JCU staff, postgraduate and/or undergraduate students and volunteers at various field sites off-campus. This includes urban, rural (terrestrial), freshwater, marine or remote locations.
Field Trip Leader
The person authorised by the Director/Dean to lead the field trip and who is responsible for the health and safety of all persons attending for the duration of the field trip.
Field Trip Approver
The person with the overall authority to approve the field trip and the field trip activities. The field trip approver will be the Director or Dean or a person authorized by the Director or Dean.
A disease that is caused by pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi, which can be spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another.
JCU cars, trucks, vans, buses, boats, motorbikes or quadbikes, or vehicles hired on a short or long term basis from the Estate Directorate, excluding vehicles under Executive Vehicle arrangements and/or vehicles purchased and operated from University funds.
A place of specialised work such as research, clinical or diagnostic evaluation teaching and/or learning, and all areas using hazardous substances (chemicals).
Areas such as the grounds of the University, retail shops and peer to per study spaces on campus.
All University campuses, field and research stations, buildings, grounds, vehicles, commercial operations and other locations under the University's control.
A research station owned and or managed by JCU. This includes Orpheus Island Research Station, Paluma Rainforest field station, Fletcherview Research Station and Daintree Rainforest Observatory.
Research Station Manager
A JCU staff member or their delegate, responsible for the management and operation of the JCU Research Station.
A person by whom work is performed for the University under a contract of employment on a continuing, fixed term or casual basis.
A person admitted to the University and currently enrolled for a course or subject. (and whose enrolment for that course or for that subject has not lapsed or been cancelled).
An area involving, broadcast, dancing, music recording, and or visual art activities.
Lecture theatres and rooms, tutorial rooms and/or any space where learning and research is occurring.
A member of the public.
Any location for the purposes of work, study or research, conducted by JCU staff, postgraduate and undergraduate students and volunteers at various sites, which are on-campus and off-campus. This includes urban, rural (terrestrial), freshwater and marine locations.
Areas involving the use and maintenance of electrical, electronic, and mechanical machinery and tools.
1. General Duty of Care
James Cook University has a duty of care with regard to the safety and wellbeing of staff, students, affiliates, volunteers and visitors at our workplace. Adherence to this policy and associated procedures will assist in maintaining an optimal work and study environment at the University.
The University does not permit parents/carers to bring children routinely to the workplace as an alternative to regular, organised childcare arrangements. Child supervision must not be delegated to other staff or students on a regular basis.
A child is not permitted to be at a workplace unless supervised by an adult. It is the duty of the carer to ensure that the child does not disrupt or cause inconvenience to others.
The University will:
- Provide an environment that is conducive to study and work for all staff, students, affiliates and visitors while providing a family friendly workplace and study environment.
- Ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of staff and other persons affected by its activities at the workplace and that risks are managed.
- Take reasonable steps to assist staff, students, affiliates and visitors who may have special requirements access to facilities and services.
Sick children, particularly children with known infectious diseases, must not be brought into the workplace. If the child is unable to attend childcare or school due to illness, then they must not be brought into the workplace. The University has various types of leave available to assist staff members who need to attend to unwell children.
Staff, Supervisors, Field Trip Leaders, Research Station Managers
Within the scope of this policy, approve or reject, the request for children to attend the workplace (including field trips and research stations), taking into account:
- Particular circumstances that have led to the request
- The potential impact on others (students, staff and visitors)
- The health and safety issues and risks to the child and others; and
- The risk assessment for the care and supervision of the child: and
- May request at their absolute discretion that the carer remove the child from the workplace or study area
- Must seek permission to allow the child to accompany the carer to a JCU workplace
- Must supervise the child at all times. Supervision of the child cannot be delegated to another JCU staff member or student on a regular basis,
- Must ensure the health and safety of the child in their care while at the workplace,
- Must be responsible for the behaviour of the child in their care so as not to endanger, inconvenience or otherwise disrupt the activities of staff, students, affiliates and visitors.
- Is responsible to meet all direct and additional costs incurred when a child accompanies a carer, to the workplace, on a field trip or on a trip to a JCU Research Station.
3. Specific workplace requirements
Lectures and Tutorials (Teaching Areas)
As a result of unforeseen circumstances, it may be necessary for children to attend a JCU Workplace. In such cases, the carer must first obtain permission from the JCU staff member/affiliate conducting the class.
The carer and the staff member or affiliate should refer to HSE-PRO-020 Children in the Workplace and Study Environment Procedure.
Students are not permitted to take children into examinations.
Areas Prohibited to Children
Some areas of the University are hazardous and pose considerable workplace health and safety risks. Children are prohibited from accessing these areas, except when under supervision for approved University activities and events such as school visits, JCU Open Day and Summer Schools.
Prohibited areas include but are not limited to:
- Laboratories and laboratory preparation areas
- Computer laboratories
- Maintenance, scientific and technical workshop areas
- Photographic laboratories
- Printer/copier rooms
- Art rooms
- Recording, broadcast and music studios
- Kitchens and other food preparation areas
- Fitness centres
- Animal holding facilities, including yards, paddocks, enclosures and aquariums
- Animal research facilities
Other areas may be identified as unsuitable for children following a risk assessment.
Occasionally and subject to regulations that may apply in particular areas, it may be necessary for children to accompany a carer in non-teaching areas. It is the duty of the carer to ensure that the child does not disrupt that area or cause inconvenience to others.
Children may accompany supervising adults on research and teaching field trips, only with prior approval, which requires that:
- Approval is sought on a case-by-case basis in relation to each field trip
- The carer must sign and complete the Parent/Guardian Acknowledgement, Consent and Release form
- A comprehensive risk assessment specifically addressing the presence of children must be reviewed and approved by the Field Trip Leader, and
- Approval must be provided in writing by the Field Trip Approver.
The Procedure, HSE-PRO-022 Children in the Workplace and Study Environment Field Trip Procedure, establishes the process for a carer to seek approval and for JCU staff and associates to respond.
Children may accompany carers on trips to research stations only with prior approval, which requires that:
- Approval is sought on a case by case basis in relation to each trip to a research station
- The carer must sign and complete the Parent/Guardian Acknowledgement, Consent and Release form
- A comprehensive risk assessment specifically addressing the presence of children must be reviewed and approved by the manager of the research station
- Approval is provided in writing by the manager of the research station, and
- The Dean of Research provides approval in writing.
The Procedure, HSE-PRO-021 Children in the Workplace and Study Environment Research Station Procedure, establishes the process for a carer to seek approval and for the relevant JCU Staff members to respond.
Children as Passengers
Children of staff, affiliates, visitors, students, volunteers and members of the public, must not be carried in University vehicles, equipment and boats except with prior approval of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor / Director or Academic Head, Dean or nominated delegate.
Children travelling in JCU vehicles are not covered by JCU’s Insurance policy, the carer should make their own insurance arrangements for children that have been approved to travel in JCU vehicles.
The very nature of the activities at James Cook University makes it impossible for the University to assume any liability whatsoever in respect of any loss, death, injury or illness which arises by reason of any activity or action by James Cook University or its staff, for children visiting any of the University's campuses and /or facilities or being involved in any University sponsored field trip. At all times during the visit, a visiting child is the sole responsibility and liability of the carer.
A 'Parent/Guardian Acknowledgement, Consent and Release form' for use when a minor accompanies a carer on a field trip or research station is available from the Health Safety and Environment Unit or online.
5. Further Information
Further information and assistance with this University policy and related procedures is available from the Manager, Health Safety and Environment.
Related documents, legislation
Checklist to complete for Risk assessment for child accompanying a carer to JCU Workplace, to a JCU Research Station and on a JCU Field Trip.
Deputy Vice Chancellor – Services and Resources
Health, Safety and Environment Sub-committee
Date for next review:
Broadening policy scope to include other workplaces, research stations and field trips, and to cover staff, affiliates and students.
Executive Officer, Division of Services and Resources
Minor amendment to align with current organisation structure.
Quality, Standards and Policy Officer
Policy sponsor and approval authority amended to reflect approved policy framework.
Quality, Standards and Policy Officer
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