Good health and safety practices are important in any working environment; schools, however, are a special case. Especially where young children are more vulnerable because they have little understanding of health and safety, and where school leaders have legal, professional and moral duties to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for the pupils in their care.
Contemporary health and safety legislation has been in place since 1974; however, it can’t provide guarantees in dynamic workplaces or, in equal measure, workplaces that struggle to keep up. Breaches of good practice and/or legislation, while uncommon, can be time consuming and eye-wateringly expensive, especially in cases that proceed to litigation.
There are many practical steps a school can take. A challenge often overlooked by schools (and many employers), however, is the actual scope of health and safety activities - some of which will be generic while others may be specific to your school’s setting and whether resources are self-contained or shared across more than one site.
While NAHT has always had resources available to members, we have recently teamed up with our partners at Strictly Education in the design, development and production of a dedicated health and safety product for our members. The result is a comprehensive online health and safety portal called Schools Assist.
Schools Assist is designed to provide a school or college with a robust and proactive online health and safety service. Subscribing to the core service provides you with the following:
- Unlimited access to a dedicated web portal
- Online health and safety assistance, including:
* A comprehensive range of sector-specific risk assessments with guidance notes
* Detailed specimen action plans for each core area of activity (eg fire; slips, trips and falls; playground areas; stress; violent and aggressive behaviour; display screen equipment and food safety)
* Risk planning and disaster recovery
* Work equipment
* Food and kitchen safety.
- A business hours helpline
- Ongoing support – the website is continually updated to reflect changes in legislation, codes of practice and best practice to ensure compliance.
A key feature of Schools Assist is a comprehensive range of e-learning health and safety courses that cover the typical health and safety activities in a school or college setting – a good idea for an INSET day or a series of INSET days across a school year.
In addition to the core Schools Assist online facility, a range of additional facilities are also available, including the following:
1. A health and safety external competent person service. We will do the following:
- Complete health and safety policies and procedures, and health and safety risk assessments
- Provide all of the advice needed to achieve compliance, including control measures and action plans
- Conduct six-monthly technical reviews of action plans
- Conduct health and safety audits at agreed intervals
- Provide a 24/7 advice line.
2. A health and safety audit service. We will do the following:
- Conduct a site visit to audit and review the health and safety system, including a review of all policies and risk assessments
- Provide a report detailing any issues arising from the site visit.
For more details of the core and full range of services, get in touch with Strictly Education on 0330 123 2548 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First published 26 April 2018