Policy Work Health and Safety Children in the Workplace and Study Environment Policy

Children in the Workplace and Study Environment Policy


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Intent

The University recognises that at times parents and carers need to bring children on campus or other place where work, study or research is undertaken. This policy articulates an approach to enabling children to accompany their parents and carers while ensuring a healthy and safe workplace, research or study environment for all.

Scope

This policy applies to all members of Council, staff members, affiliates, students and visitors of the University.

Definitions

Affiliate is 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.

Carer/s means a parent, guardian or an adult person engaged by the parent or guardian who is responsible for a child or children.

Child/(ren) means people under the age of 15, not enrolled as a JCU student.

Field Trip means 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 means 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 means 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 authorised by the director or dean.

Infectious disease are diseases that are caused by pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi. The disease can be spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another.

JCU vehicles means JCU owned 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.

Laboratory is a space identified by JCU Estate Directorate and the relevant division as a laboratory. This could include any part of a building that is used for scientific or technical work that may involve chemicals, pathogens, radiation, mechanical or other processes.

Non-teaching areas refer to areas such as the grounds of the University, retail shops and peer-to-peer study spaces on campus.

Premises covers all the University's campuses, field and research stations, buildings, grounds, vehicles, commercial operations and other locations under the University's control.

Research Station means research stations owned and or managed by JCU. This includes, Orpheus Island Research Station, Fletcherview Research Station and Daintree Rainforest Observatory.

Research Station Manager means JCU staff member or their delegate, responsible for the management and operation of the JCU research station.

Staff Member means a person by whom work is performed for the University under a contract of employment on a continuing, fixed term or casual basis.

Studio means an area involving, broadcast, dancing, music recording, and or visual art activities.

Teaching areas covers lectures theatres and rooms, tutorial rooms and/or any space where learning and research is occurring.

Visitor means a member of the public.

Worker is a person who carries out work in any capacity for JCU, and includes working as:

  • An employee;
  • A volunteer;
  • An apprentice or trainee;
  • A student gaining work experience (paid or unpaid);
  • A contractor or subcontractor and their employees;
  • Labour hire company employees assigned to work for JCU.

Workplace is the place where work is carried out for JCU and includes any place where a worker goes, or is likely to be, while at work.

Workshop means areas involving the use and maintenance of electrical, electronic, and mechanical machinery and tools.

Working from home covers the performance of duties at a non-commercial private dwelling as agreed between the University and the staff member.

Working remotely covers the performance of duties at location(s) outside of the traditional workplace setting.

1. Duty of Care - General

The 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 others.

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.

Unwell Children

Unwell children, particularly those suffering from suspected or known infectious diseases, are not permitted into the workplace. If the child is unable to attend childcare or school due to illness, then the staff member should make appropriate alternate arrangements. The staff members’ who are required to attend to unwell children should book appropriate leave.

2. Responsibilities

2.1 Staff, Supervisors, Field Trip Leaders, Research Station Managers

Within the scope of this policy, can approve, reject, or rescind a 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 within the area;
  • any potential health and safety risks to the child and others; and
  • the risk assessment for the care and supervision of the child; and the responsible approver may rescind the approval at their absolute discretion and can require the carer remove the child from the workplace or study area.

2.2 The Carer

  • 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 others;
  • must ensure the health and safety of the child in their care while at the workplace or study environment;
  • 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

3.1 Lectures and Tutorials (Teaching Areas)

Due to unforeseen circumstances, it may be necessary for children to attend a JCU workplace. In such instances, the carer must first obtain permission from the JCU staff member/affiliate conducting the class.

The carer, staff member or affiliate should refer to the procedure for staff, students and affiliates – WHS-PRO-020 Children in the Workplace and Study Environment Procedure .

Students are not permitted to take children into examinations.

3.2 Areas Prohibited to Children

Some areas of the University 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.

3.3 Non-Teaching Areas

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.

3.4 Field Trips

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 completed 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;
  • approval must be provided in writing by the field trip approver.

The WHS-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.

3.5 Research Stations

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;
  • the Dean of Research provides approval in writing.

The WHS-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.

3.6 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.

3.7 Working from Home or Working Remotely

Staff working from home or working remotely, are expected to manage personal child caring responsibilities in a way that allows them to successfully meet their employment obligations. The Remote Working Policy and related procedure has more detailed information around remote working arrangements.

4. Indemnity

The University does not  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 Work Health and Safety Unit website.

5. Further Information

Further information and assistance with this University policy and related procedures is available from the Manager, Work Health and Safety Unit.

Related policy instruments

WHS-PRO -020 Children in the Workplace and Study Environment Procedure

WHS-PRO-021 Children in the Workplace and Study Environment Research Station Procedure

WHS-PRO-022 Children in the Workplace and Study Environment Field Trip Procedure

Child Safety Policy

Other related documents

WHS-PRO-INFO-020a Risk assessment considerations for children accompanying carers

WHS-PRO-FORM-020b Parent/Guardian acknowledgment, consent and release form

Administration

Approval Details

Policy sponsor:

DVC Services and Resources

Approval authority:

Work Health and Safety Committee

Date for next review:

25/06/2024

Modification History

Version no.

Approval date

Implementation date

Details

Policy Author

21-1

25/06/2021

30/06/2021

Worker, Working from home and working remotely definitions added. Responsibility of carer and child supervision updated. Nomenclature of procedures and WHS unit names updated from HSE.

Manager, Work Health and Safety

18-1

01/06/2018

25/06/2018

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

17-1

08/12/2017

08/12/2017

Minor amendment to align with current organisation structure.

Quality, Standards and Policy Officer

15-1

19/05/2015

19/06/2015

Policy sponsor and approval authority amended to reflect approved policy framework.

Quality, Standards and Policy Officer

Contact personManager, Work Health and Safety
Keywordschildren, parent, guardian,  carer, field trip, research station, remote working, working from home