Over 60% of University of Bath students undertake a placement or study year abroad with a wide range of employment or study opportunities being taken up. The University, the student, and the employer/host institution all have a role to play in ensuring the health and safety of the student.
Students may spend significant periods of time away from the University in a wide variety of work and study environments as part of their qualification requirements. It is necessary to take steps to ensure that they are not put at increased risk to their health or safety as a consequence. The University has put in place a procedure for ensuring that all such activities are subject to a suitable risk assessment and that appropriate control measures are in place.
The University’s Quality Assurance Codes of Practice (QA6 and QA37) aim to assure the academic quality of placement learning and study abroad programmes. The QA6 statement includes health and safety elements agreed with the University Health, Safety & Environment Service (UHSE).
This standard aims to support these Codes by providing a framework for ensuring the health and safety of students undertaking such programmes.
This standard applies to all work placements and Study Abroad programmes organised as part of University of Bath degree courses.
The University’s “Children and Young People Standard” considers the safety of non-University students undertaking work experience at the University. Internships or vacation work organised outside of a programme of study are excluded from this policy. However, people should refer to the University’s Risk Assessments Standard where the University plays a role in managing or overseeing this type of activity.
Work or study undertaken outside the UK will be subject to the laws of that country. The way the University manages these activities will remain subject to UK legislation. Risk assessors will need to consider compliance with UK and relevant overseas legal frameworks when developing and implementing risk assessments.
Placement: This is ‘… a negotiated period of learning which normally takes place outside the University either in the workplace or at another institution and where the learning outcomes are an intended part of … the programme of study.’ (University of Bath QA6)
Study Abroad: This is ‘… learning achieved during an agreed period … at a Higher Education institution in a country outside the United Kingdom, and where the learning outcomes are an integral part of and contribute to the programme of study.’ (University of Bath QA37 – Student Exchange Arrangements).
Overview of Standard
Compliance with sector guidance
Placements and study abroad programmes should comply with the relevant sector guidance. These are the UCEA health and safety guidance for the placement of HE students and the ASET Good Practice Guide for Health and Safety for Student Placements.
The sector guidance strongly supports a risk management approach; this allows a light touch for low risk placements and much tighter controls for placements that may pose a greater risk. Work placements and study abroad programmes must therefore be risk assessed in the same way as any other work activity.
The sector guidance provides detailed descriptions of the type of issues to be included in risk assessments. These include:
Work activities: Expectations of tasks, performance management, reporting concerns
Travel: Accessing the location, quality and frequency of local transport
Environment: Local conditions, access to medical support, working conditions and arrangements
The individual: Wellbeing (mental and physical), previous experience
Contingency planning: Emergency provision, communication, limitations of insurance
The University has developed a risk assessment checklist to support departments.
Faculties and departments will make adequate resources available to reduce risks associated with these activities to a tolerable level. The University will provide people involved in the operational management of placements and abroad programmes with the necessary guidance and training to enable them to evaluate the health and safety risks of the placements and programmes that they administer.
Evaluation of placement providers
The relevant department should evaluate the health and safety arrangements of placements providers or study abroad institutions before work or study starts. Where reasonably practicable, provider arrangements should comply with the same standards as would be required for work on campus.
The University has developed a number of questionnaires for departments to use to evaluate placement / Study Abroad providers:
Planning and organisation of all placements and Study Abroad programmes includes taking account of any individual physical or mental difficulties and making any reasonable adjustments required to allow all individuals to participate safely. Support and advice on this issue is available from Student Services Disability Service.
Information , Instruction and Training
The University will provide students with health and safety information relevant to their placement / study abroad programme prior to the start of their programme. UHSE has developed an online training course for student placements.
Where fieldwork involves overseas travel, organisers should consult and follow the international travel guidance issued by the Office of the University Secretary. This guidance includes advice on travel to countries where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against travel.
Risk assessments should consider foreseeable emergencies such as first aid emergencies. The risk assessment should also include provision for the University’s Procedure for responding to significant incidents overseas which may affect University of Bath students and staff. Any accident involving a placement or study abroad student should be reported to UHSE, via the online incident reporting system, as soon as is practical after it has occurred.
Placement or should consult the University’s Insurance resources for Placement Students to ensure that adequate and appropriate insurance cover is in place prior to travelling.
Changes to Quality Assurance Standards
The Student Learning Experience and Quality Team liaise with UHSE when revising or updating QA6 to ensure that health and safety statements in QA6 are consistent with University health and safety policies.
Health and Safety advice and guidance
If you require guidance on health and safety matters relating to a proposed placement or a study abroad proposal then contact UHSE
Responsibility for Implementation
The following people have responsibility for implementing aspects of this standard:
Directors and Heads of Department;
Placements and Study Abroad Officers;
International Mobility Team (Erasmus+, exchange programmes and study abroad activities);
Student Learning Experience and Quality Team (in respect of QA statements).
Detailed guidance on how this standard should be implemented is provided in the Placements and Study Abroad Programmes Safety Standard