Do you employ young people of school age to deliver your newspapers?

If so how do you protect them?

Research shows that there are approximately three million children aged between 13 and school leaving age throughout the UK eligible for employment. Between 20 and 30 per cent of those are involved in accidents whilst working.

“The largest group who are likely to be involved in accidents are those that are employed in delivery type work. Fifty six per cent of accidents involve children employed in door to door deliveries,” says Dr Jim McKechnie, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Paisley.

This is likely to be because their age and inexperience means they are not yet aware of the dangers or hazards they may encounter on their delivery rounds.

Under current legislation it is the employer’s responsibility to protect their employees, by carrying out individual risk assessments for all employees before the employment commences. Both employees and their parents must be informed of the risks and hazards and how these can be avoided.

For instance, you need to think about how long it takes to complete each round, how heavy the bag in which they carry the papers is, how far  they walk, if there are street lights, and if there are any hazards such as major roads to cross, dogs that may bite or strong springs on gates and letter boxes.

If they use a bicycle do the lights, reflectors  and brakes work properly,  are the tyres correctly inflated, are the saddle, chain and pedals adjusted properly and do the youngsters know what is contained in the Highway Code in relation to the use of a bicycle?

With our current dark mornings and even darker nights, you should ensure that your deliverers wear conspicuous, high visibility clothing that protects them from wet or cold weather. You could also encourage them to carry personal attack alarms or whistles, or a torch and spare batteries for their personal safety .In addition it should form part of their daily routine to report back to you when they have finished their rounds and not simple go off on their other routines.

It is important as an employer of children that you are aware of the following:

  • The rules of employment of children are laid down by law but can be supplemented by additional requirements imposed by the local council (education authority)
  • Separate rules apply in Northern Ireland. For further information please visit and follow the relevant steps.
  • Most local councils require those employing under 16’s to have a permit
  • This permit MUST be requested within 1 week of employment
  • The minimum age of employment is 13 years
  • These rules cease to apply after the last Friday of June in the school year that the person reaches the age of 16
  • National minimum wage does not apply
  • There is no entitlement to paid holiday but a two week break in any calendar year is mandatory
  • A  risk assessment is required before employing any staff under the age of 18
  • No work may be undertaken which may be harmful to the child’s health or education
  • Display a valid copy of your Employer’s Liability Insurance Certificate in your shop
  • Keep an accident book and record all accidents and incidents

The child may not work:

  • Before 7am
  • After 7pm
  • During school hours
  • More than one hour before school
  • More than two hours a day in term time (school days and Sundays)
  • More than 12 hours a week (in term time)
  • More than 5 hours on Saturday (13-14yo) in term time
  • More than 8 hours on a Saturday (15-16yo) in term time
  • For more than four hours without a one hour break

During school holidays the maximum hours are:

  • 5 hours on weekdays and Saturdays (13-14yo)
  • 2 hours on Sundays (13-14yo)
  • 8 hours on weekdays and Saturdays (15-16yo)
  • 2 hours on Sundays (15-16yo)
  • 25 hours per week (13-14yo)
  • 35 hours per week (15-16yo)

The NFRN has produced a video promoting best practice procedures for Home News Deliverers and an associated booklet entitled Delivering Newspapers Safely.

As a responsible employer of young people, we advise you check out the website of the National Network for Child Employment and Entertainment (NNCEE) at

Source – The National Network for Child Employment and Entertainment

Adult staff need to be DBS checked

Any adult staff that come into contact with a child member of staff whilst undertaking their daily duties should be DBS checked. Any new adult staff must be checked as part of the application process but only after their application has proved successful – job offers should be worded ‘pending a successful DBS check’.

What is DBS? The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. It replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

In all cases for both adults and children you should ensure your business insurers are aware you have staff that are out delivering and ensure your insurance covers both them and any potential public liability. In addition you are advised that should you need to discipline or change the working conditions of any staff you should consult with NFRN Legal in the first instance. It is an industry standard that children should not carry more than 10kg and as such trolleys should be made available or rounds split to ensure this weight is not exceeded.

Risk Assessment

Special care must be taken in the case of young workers who are likely to be at greater risk. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 require you to have a risk assessment for newspaper deliverers in place before you employ them and seek to ensure their safety whilst in your employment. To view an example risk assessment, please download the form below.

Example Risk Assessment Form


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