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Child accompanying parent to work

(13 Posts)
BlogOnTheTyne Thu 04-Apr-13 14:30:51

There's a 12 year old little boy in our home today, whilst we're having a new boiler installed and lots of pipework (think floorboards taken up, wires, pipes and gas everywhere). His father's doing the job with a workmate, didn't ask permission to bring his son and has had his son do minor parts of the job alone and unaccompanied around our house.

I've felt obliged to follow the child round, partly because radiators keep leaking over our flooring and partly because he's in rooms where we have our possessions and partly because I run a business from home and have a home office with confidential files (obviously I've now locked this room but earlier had to spend 25 mins with the child in there, as he 'bled' the radiator).

Will his father's insurance cover for injury to his child and for damage his child does to our property, either through the work the child is carrying out or through accident?

Is a 12 year old child allowed to carry out work and allowed to accompany a parent on site (2 separate questions)?

Finally, what on earth do I do, as I feel it'll really sour relations with the father if I complain but I'm not at all happy with this situation?

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Thu 04-Apr-13 14:57:53

No idea about the legalities but is it really that much of a pain? He's 12, not 2 so I don't know why you feel you have to follow him about. He's no more likely to read "confidential files" than an adult.

Just ask the father the questions / voice your concerns, but no need to be OTT about it I think.

BlogOnTheTyne Thu 04-Apr-13 15:04:49

If I hadn't followed him round, we'd now have damage from spurting water from a number of radiators on flooring, some of which is wood that has in the past stained black from water leakage - so I know it's not a good thing to have water on it!

I've got absolutely nothing against the little boy who seemed really lovely. The issue if really about what might happen if he accidentally damages our property, if he damages it whilst carrying out work for his father (and he's under the age of 16 or 18 or whatever age the company insurance would cover for?) and if he gets hurt himself, either in the course of unsupervised where there are electric cables exposed, floorboards up, gas being turned on and off as new piping is fitted.

He said he'd hardly ever done any work like this before and clearly was unsure about what he was doing, hence I supervised and threw towels down when there were leaks etc.

The other issue was really about not being comfortable about the father not asking if I were OK with him bringing his child on site. It would never cross my mind to bring one of my DCs to a workplace unless I'd asked permission and unless the kind of work done was of no risk to the child.

PhyllisDoris Thu 04-Apr-13 15:15:33

I'm sure his father would accept full liability for any damage caused.

I'd be pleased that the boy is putting his holidays to good use, getting a bit of on the job training and probably earning a bit of pocket money too, instead of lounging around playing with his x-box or roaming the streets.

notapizzaeater Thu 04-Apr-13 15:18:50

Legally he can be employed at 13 and iirc if it's a family business he can work from whatever age parent feels they capable.

titchy Thu 04-Apr-13 17:20:38

Stop calling him a little boy - he's 12! And why didn't you just tell him to ask his dad if he wasn't sure? If he did something under your instruction and caused damage you wouldn't have a leg to stand on, but if his dad told him how to do something and he cocked up then much easier to claim damages off his dad as he was acting under his supervision.

titchy Thu 04-Apr-13 17:22:56

Oh and my old employer (public sector office) told us our kids were covered under their insurance if we brought them into work when we had no childcare, or came in to show off newborns.

WestieMamma Thu 04-Apr-13 19:55:26

I thought this was a normal part of growing up. I frequently went to work with my dad. When he was a night shift black cabbie he'd make a bed up for us in the luggage bit next to the driver. When he was a janitor with the local authority he'd send us round the building to empty all the bins. He was also the local handyman, that's how I learnt to do plumbing, decorating, basic carpentry, gardening and such like.

BlogOnTheTyne Fri 05-Apr-13 05:25:24

OK. I was worried that if the child was injured on site that I might be liable, as there are lots of exposed electric wires, gaps in the floor cavity where boards have been taken up, new gas pipes, testing of gas etc etc.

Secondly, I was worried that the child wouldn't be covered by his father's insurance if he, as an unqualified 'minor', caused damage to our flooring or DCs toys/our possessions. As his father wasn't supervising him and the boy told me he didn't often come to his dad's work and wasn't sure of what he was doing, I felt obliged to supervise. Thank heavens I did, otherwise there would indeed have been damage.

A couple of times, he was calling out, as water spurted from radiators and I had to grab towels and rush to stem the flow of water and find the man and ask for help, as he wasn't responding to his son.

I called him a little boy because this is what he looked like - just a little lad who didn't really know what he was doing and who was left to get on with it by his father.

It was difficult for me as I also had my own DCs to look after - and who I was keeping well away from all the works (one has SN) and at times felt I was 'babysitting' another child for free and supervising his 'work', whilst pulled between him and my own DCs.

I thought a workman would normally at least ask if it was Ok that his son came to work with him or even mention he was there but there was nothing at all until we heard the lad shouting out for his father.

So are there not any health and safety regulations about 'minors' coming on site in the workplace then? I know that there are all sorts of rules and regulations these days about adults in the workplace and assumed that laws would be even more stringent for children?

CabbageLeaves Fri 05-Apr-13 05:37:11

I'm actually sympathetic to this parent obviously managing childcare around his employment. I've taken my DDs to work before now and put them to good use and 'paid' them from my own money for that work. The difference is I supervised my DC myself and know they did a job they were both capable of and could cause no consequence to my employer.

I think your approach should be less indignation at him not asking you about bringing someone (a 12 yr old is a someone) of his choosing onto site and more about objective complaints about the standard of work. If he brought a 45 yr old trainee who bled black water all over the place that would not be acceptable and you could raise it.

I'd examine whether you had an initial reaction of he shouldn't be here, he didn't ask my permission, he can't be trusted and pre judged before giving him a chance.

Treat the situation as if the lad was 22. What would you have done in this situation? Would you have hovered in quite the same way?

CabbageLeaves Fri 05-Apr-13 05:38:36

So are there not any health and safety regulations about 'minors' coming on site in the workplace then? I know that there are all sorts of rules and regulations these days about adults in the workplace and assumed that laws would be even more stringent for children?

It's hardly mud lark territory is it? Dressing up your concern for your wooden floors as concern for health and safety of a child isn't helping....

BlogOnTheTyne Fri 05-Apr-13 05:57:23

Cabbageleaves, I didn't follow the lad around at all, at first and just commented to his dad, once I'd realised he was there, that it was nice for his son to be learning the trade. I left him to it until he began shouting as water spurted out from a radiator. I'd assumed that he probably knew more than I did about heating systems and had jokingly complimented him on that to make him feel good.

However, it then became clear that he hadn't really done much like this before, didn't know about heating systems (he said this to me) and that his dad and workmate weren't responding to his calls. It was only after this that I felt obliged to be around when he went into each of the rooms.

As time went on and my own DCs needed me and were fretting about the boy standing on their toys etc etc (I'd told mine not to go near the works so they were upset that the other child was allowed out there but they weren't), I felt more concerned and angry that the workman hadn't supervised his son, hadn't 'trained' his son and wasn't responding to his son when he called out.

Once I realised that things were going wrong and that there was no one supervising, then yes, I'd have felt obliged to be around too, even if he were 22. However, I'd have felt more easy about going to the workman and expressing some concerns to him.

As this was his little boy, I felt more obliged to be 'motherly' and chatty with the boy and unable to speak to the father about him, as all parents are protective of their children and I'm sure he'd have taken huge offense if I'd said anything negative.

So I felt really 'trapped' by the situation, with obligation to the boy - given it wasn't his fault he was being told to do stuff he didn't really know how to do, obligation to my own DCs who I had to leave alone and unhappy, obligation to protect my property, need to keep the workman 'happy' as he's still in the middle of the job and I don't want to 'put his back up' a this stage.

I came on here to see if there some straightforward rules and regulations regarding children at work and untrained minors working unsupervised so that I might be able to find an unemotive, calm way of stating my concern to the man, eg "hey, I'm really sorry but I don't think your son should really be here and working unsupervised because there are rules that indicate this isn't safe...and also what about your insurance?"

However, it seems there aren't any rules like this from what people are saying and I'll just have to try to field all the conflicting obligations without upsetting anyone, as best I can. I felt sorry for the little boy as he was very pleasant and was clearly doing his best. It's just that the situation wasn't at all ideal for me.

CabbageLeaves Fri 05-Apr-13 06:08:13

Ok this all sounds very fair. Your first post sounded like you were looking for an angle to pin your annoyance at him bringing a child to work (apologies if I read it wrong)

Still think you should approach it in the same manner you would a 22yr old apprentice.

It's not acceptable that a member of the team you have employed is inadequately supervised risking damage to your property

not bitter at all about the plumber in his 30s with apprentice in his 60s (give a year or 5) who released water through my loft even after I'd suggested this might happen...the ceiling didn't come down...just turned brown

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