The supervision of apprentices is a significant responsibility for persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU).
Apprentices look to their supervisor for guidance and assistance in learning how to undertake their job safely and competently.
Regardless of the age of the apprentice, the employer has a duty of care towards them and supervision is required at all times.
Generally, the minimum requirement for a supervisor of an apprenticeship, is that they must be able to demonstrate the competencies relevant to the vocation the apprentice is employed in. This will usually be a person who is a qualified tradesperson in that trade.
Because young workers may have difficulty judging when something is dangerous and have a desire to impress supervisors and workmates, they are less likely to ask questions or raise concerns about their safety at work. This means it isn’t effective to simply rely on young workers to ask for assistance or supervision.
The level of supervision required should always be based on the level of risk and the knowledge and experience of the young worker.
Providing supervision to apprentice at all times not only ensures compliance with work health and safety laws, it can protect them or others from an injury.
For further information on supervising an apprentice, see Training Services NSW videos and articles