The health and safety of school children is of the utmost importance to parents and teachers across the country. It’s also a requirement by law under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Failing to maintain good health and safety practices in school could lead to unfortunate accidents, incur financial costs and damage the school’s reputation.
As health and safety consultants in London and the surrounding areas, Armadillo Safety Solutions are experts in health and safety audits for schools, nurseries, and academies.
In this blog, we will look at the different areas of health and safety that Armadillo Safety Solutions cover in a school health and safety audit and what schools need to do to meet the health and safety requirements expected of them.
THE IMPORTANCE OF RISK ASSESSMENTS
Risk assessments ensure that schools take necessary and sensible precautions to maintain a safe environment for pupils, the school’s workforce and visitors to the premises. A thorough risk assessment for a classroom will cover areas like:
- Slips, trips and falls
- Furniture and fixtures
- Manual handling
- Electrical Equipment and services
- Ventilation and heating
Specific departments will have hazards that require special attention; for example, science laboratories that use dangerous substances will require a COSHH Assessment. Other classrooms with specialist health and safety requirements include sports halls, drama studios and design and technology rooms. Non-classroom environments such as playing fields, canteens and corridors also present hazards and must not be neglected.
At Armadillo Safety Solutions, we provide risk assessment templates as part of our school health and safety audit service. We also have dedicated fire risk assessment plans, so please contact our team if you feel your premises will benefit from this service.
ACCIDENT REPORTING AND RIDDOR
Schools must keep accurate details of all injuries and accidents sustained on their premises. Recording these details in a Pupil Accident Book is a requirement by law. The Pupil Accident Book should be readily available to school employees, and accidents should be registered as soon as possible following the incident, detailing as much information as possible.
Many minor injuries only need to be reported in the Pupil Accident book. However, in some circumstances, the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) requires that you submit a report to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – a department of the UK Government. Following RIDDOR is part of UK legislation and helps HSE identify workplace risks and how better to prevent them from happening again. Following RIDDOR is a legal requirement.
At Armadillo Safety Solutions, we can take on the responsibility of RIDDOR reporting for schools, ensuring the accurate reporting of accidents when required.
REGULATIONS FOR TRIPS & VISITS
Taking pupils on a school trip should be exciting and fun, but leaving the classroom also poses various risks that schools need to consider. Carry out a full risk assessment to identify risks and implement safety measures to mitigate those risks. It is also essential to consider the following:
- The physical demand on the students from the activity or visit
- The route and transport used for the trip
- The staff to pupil ratio and the capability of those staff
- Special needs or medical requirements of pupils
- The quality of equipment used by the pupils
- Seasonal variations
- What to do in an emergency
Armadillo Safety Solutions will look at your trips and visits policies and procedures as part of our school and safety audits.
When we talk about school security, we refer to anything that helps safeguard pupils and staff, allowing teaching in a safe and secure environment. Most would consider that educational settings are to be some of the safest places; however, to maintain this, you must not ignore the potential threats or impact of security-related issues such as:
- Cyber Attacks
- Incidents involving weaponry or terrorist attacks
A school’s security policy should balance cultivating a friendly, enjoyable environment for everyone whilst protecting everyone from harm wherever possible. It should encourage staff and students alike to be vigilant. The plan should address realistic threats, clearly outline the expectations of staff and pupils in response to an incident and draw on the knowledge from local authorities.
Many schools own and operate minibuses, which you shouldn’t overlook when addressing health and safety practices. Not only does the driver need to possess the correct license allowing them to drive the vehicle legally, but there are many other factors to consider:
- Are all the seats forward-facing as legally required?
- If required, is there a speed limiter fitted?
- Does the vehicle have working, three-point seatbelts?
- Is the vehicle roadworthy?
- Is the driver familiar with the vehicle, emergency procedures and journey planning?
A minibus is an extension of your school and must comply with the same high health and safety standards as your physical premises. Armadillo Safety Solutions include vehicles as a part of our school safety auditing as standard.
There’s a lot to take in when thinking about school health and safety audits. Bringing a health and safety consultant on board will effectively manage these risks and ensure your facility correctly adheres to all up to date, relevant health and safety legislation.
Armadillo Safety Solutions can assist or fully manage your school’s health and safety, depending on your needs. Our health and safety audit covers everything we have discussed in this blog and more. We also provide various resources, such as health and safety documentation templates which we regularly update as law and best practice guidance changes.