All schools in the UK have a health and safety policy, in which they have to adhere to requirements. There are many current health and safety legislations, policies and procedures. These include the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which was created to protect those at work by following procedures in order to prevent accidents.
In a school setting, it is compulsory to follow the rules of this act. Schools must have an annual risk assessment so that they can determine areas of the school which could be dangerous; the same applies for activities in the school. They also determine the possibility of specific hazards happening and who in particularly would be at risk. Every member of staff in school must always be aware of any hazards or risks which could cause harm on either the pupils, staff or themselves. Staff must check any hazards reported by pupils and report any hazards they notice to the either the Health and Safety Representative or the Headteacher. The school is required to follow the policies of Health and safety, risk assessments and child protection. As well as review its policies and procedures.
The school monitors and maintains its health and safety through many ways. They have routine risk assessments, plus check lists for visits and trips. Before any school trip occurs in this school, each member of staff going on the trip is given a check list to sign of all the potential risks and what to do if one should occur. Staff meetings based on health and safety happen regularly throughout the school term, whether it be training in fire safety or EpiPen training. It is the responsibility of all staff to make sure a child who has received an injury, is seen by the first aid trained staff; a child with injury must also receive an accidents and incidents slip.
It is important to make sure that anyone coming into the school setting, (whether it be a volunteer or visitors), is told of the risks. There are opportunities to be made of aware of risks and hazards such as inductions, where a person or people would be shown around the school and can be made aware of all the issues; staff training is another way to show these. Children and young people can be made aware of risks and hazards through the delivering of safety education including the PSHE (personal, social and health education) curriculum.
It is important to have a balanced approach to risk management because it can be important to a child and young persons development; it could be independence or confidence. By taking a balanced approach, they are learning how to assess and manage risks which is an essential life skill. The importance of following policies and procedures for health and safety is distinct. By providing children and young people with the knowledge, means that they too can see what is safe, not only in the school setting, but outside of school as well.
When an emergency situation arises, it’s essential that you are able to recognise it, as well as respond. Emergency situations such as fires are suddenly notice and quick recognition can be crucial. When aware of a fire, alert the nearest fire alarm and evacuate the building through the nearest fire exit. If you at any point in the school day hear the fire alarm. Everyone must immediately leave the building via their nearest fire exit (this is rehearsed often throughtout the year to make sure everyone is fully aware of what to do). If a child has an illness, then you must first speak to the child in question and become fully aware of their symptoms. You may then send them to a first aider for them to make a qualified decision on what to do next.
During any emergency situation, it can be vital to make sure the appropriate help has been notified, whether it be the ambulance, police or first aider. By following the correct procedures until help arrives, you can ensure that everyone’s safety has been adhered to. However, even though people may be safe, certain individuals may feel shocked or scared. It is important to give reassurance to these people; making sure you comfort them. This could be done as simply as saying ‘stay calm’ to those who are directly affected, although others may need more than this to be reassured. If this is the case than, if possible, ask another adult to supervise the other children whilst you remain with those deeply affected.
Information is extremely important; in schools you must fill out accident and incidents reports. In these reports, information is key to completing it. It always asks what time the incident took place and what exactly happened. It is for these two points that we fill the report as soon as the incident takes place to ensure accuracy and maintain a clear memory. Knowing information such as ‘who was involved?’ can help discover how exactly a situation may have happened or provide witness if you yourself did not see the accident. Being aware of the health and safety procedures is crucial, for if a child becomes severely injured you do not follow procedure, you may take responsibility for the incident. All the report slips ask ‘what assistance has been given?’ This is asked so that the school can confirm that procedure was followed and also to reassure the parents of casualties.