Work Placements and Occupational Safety and Health Learners in the Workplace

Approval Date
30 October 2022
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
30 October 2024
People, Culture and Safety

To ensure that off-site practice, placement, and workplace components are consistent with the requirements of the programme of study; that all assessments occurring during offsite/work placements are fair, consistent, and valid; and that the off-site/work placement is an effective learning experience.

Learners work in a variety of work environments including off-campus and unfamiliar environments. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and subsequent amendments, both Otago Polytechnic Limited (Ltd) and agencies/employers providing work placements for learners must provide appropriate identification and control of hazards, advice on emergency procedures and supervision of learners.

NOTE: The term “Work Placements” covers, but is not limited to, work experience, work shadowing, clinical placements, fieldwork, and placements, whether paid or unpaid.


Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, and all subsequent amendments

Worksafe NZ Act 2013 and all subsequent amendments

Human Rights Act 1993 and all subsequent amendments

Accident Compensation Act 2001 (ACC) and all subsequent amendments

Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 and all subsequent amendments

Children’s Act 2014 and all subsequent amendments

Children’s (Requirements for Safety Checks of Children’s Worker) Regulations 2015

  1. Otago Polytechnic Ltd offers work placements in the programme of study delivery wherever possible.
  2. Consultation by the Head of College and/or Programme Head, with the industry/profession workplace about suitability to provide “Work Placement” must take place before off-site practice, placement and workplace components are included in any programme of study.
  3. Criteria for selecting suitable work placement sites are developed by the College in conjunction with the Health and Safety Team. The suitability of work placement sites is to be assessed against these criteria prior to selection.
  4. Work placement sites and requirements must conform to specific requirements of relevant external bodies, and these will be detailed in the College documentation where appropriate.

4.1          Where programmes of study send learners out on work placement, or similar, programme of study documents will also describe how this works and how a learner is supported.

  1. Appropriate agreements, contracts and/or Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) must cover all work placement arrangements. These agreements and contracts must meet Otago Polytechnic Ltd compliance requirements for both academic quality and legality of contract.

5.1          Agreement, contract and/or MoU templates, and advice, are available from the Otago Polytechnic Ltd Contracts Manager and online through Tūhono.

5.1.1    Contracts should, at a minimum, contain information about:

  • Expectations of work placement providers; including where there are concerns about a learner who to contact for advice.
  • Expectations of learners.
  • Otago Polytechnic Ltd College's responsibilities and support for the learner and the work placement,
  • Health and Safety requirements and expectations for both Otago Polytechnic Limited and the work placement, ensuring orientation and induction processes are included.
  • Delivery and assessment procedures which must comply with academic policies on assessment and moderation, if applicable.
  • Assessors for work placement assessments should have appropriate orientation and training provided where necessary.

5.2          Work placements should not commence until all agreements, contracts and/or MoUs have been signed.

5.3          Signed agreements, contracts and/or Memorandums of Understanding will be stored

  • by each College in a shared central file of the programme of study being delivered; AND
  • in Contract Eagle or sent to Otago Polytechnic’s Contracts Manager to be stored on Contract Eagle.

5.4          Specific learning outcomes to be met by the work placement are to be identified, notified to the learner, and documented as part of the work placement agreement, contract, and/or MoU.

  1. Where required by work placement providers learners will undergo safety checks which include police vetting prior to going on work placements.

6.1          Otago Polytechnic Ltd and the work placement provider will ensure learners are provided with relevant information regarding rights and responsibilities, including the need for police vetting, where applicable, and Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) in preparation for work placements.

6.2          Prior to commencing any work placement learners will complete an Otago Polytechnic Ltd Moodle online Health and Safety Induction.

6.3          Once the learner is on-site the work placement provider will provide a health and safety induction to their industry and workplace.

  1. All learner work placements will be monitored by Otago Polytechnic Ltd staff within the relevant College programme of study delivery area.

7.1          Learner progress and safety are to be monitored during all work placements. Staff from the relevant College programme of study are to have clear arrangements for contact with both the learner and work placement provider for the duration of the work placement.

7.2          Evaluation of work placements is to be undertaken to obtain feedback from learners, placement providers and relevant College programme of study staff annually.




Reference Documents:

Hazard Management Procedure and Event and Field Trip Risk Management documentation (available from Tūhuno, Health and Safety page)


Approved by

Dr Megan Gibbons

Chief Executive

30 October 2022.

megan gibbons signature

Version: V5: Previously Coded AP0800