Health and safety in schools Essay
Health and safety in schools
There are several key pieces of legislation that impact on how schools manage the health and safety of both their employees, and others who come into contact with the school. This will include pupils, visitors, support workers and parents. Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 defines original structure and authority for the enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare within the UK. It is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in UK. The HSE/local authorities are responsible for enforcing the act relevant to the working environment. This act places the responsibility of ensuring the health and safety and welfare of employees, with the employer. The main ways that this is usually implemented in a school setting are: Ensuring that there is an effective way of reporting any hazards to the appropriate person so that any required action can be taken. Every school is required to carry out regular risk assessments of the premises and activities to identify any hazards in advance, but all members of staff should also be aware that risk assessment is an ongoing process, and that they must remain cautious and report any potential hazards to the Health and safety officer. Each school must put in place its own Health and safety policy and ensure that all staff are trained in its contents.
All staff should take ownership for, not just their own safety, but also ensuring that their actions, or lack of action, does not cause harm of danger to others, for example if a staff was using a equipment that is for adult use only, it must be used and put away safely and if the staff can see a potential hazard with the item they are using, it must be reported appropriately. If safety equipment is provided, then staff must ensure it is used at all times. For example if goggles were provided for using hazardous materials in science, then they must be worn at all times till the experiment is over and put away. All equipment used within schools should meet recognised standards of safety. This can usually be checked by ensuring that the product displays on of the following safety symbols, the Kitemark shows that the product has been tested and meets the appropriate British Standard. The headteacher is to take overall responsibility for the implementation and monitoring of the school, they should ensure: Allocating sufficient resources to meet health and safety priorities Ensuring attendance on appropriate health and safety training courses Liaising with the employer [OCC] over health and safety issues and the Health and Safety
Trade Union Representatives Regularly checking the Health and Safety website
Ensuring good communications by including health and safety issues in Staff briefings, bulletins and meetings Organising and implementing termly inspections in consultation with Trade Union Safety Representatives and Governors Overseeing the completion of the arrangements and “Risk Assessment” for all on and off site activities Ensuring that health and safety is a criteria for performance management and appraisal scheme Formulate and implement a policy for the management of critical incidents
How health and safety is monitored and maintained in the setting
The Headteacher will develop an effective management safety monitoring system to oversee the operation of this policy. On a daily basis the head does a walkabout to check for anything that can cause harm to the staff and children. All the staff will monitor their classroom so that any issues that occur can be reported. These will include:
Direct observations of staff compliance
Managerial reports monthly/termly/annually [as necessary]
Investigations of good practice/incidents/documents
“Risk Assessment” – The Trade Union Health and Safety Representatives together with the Governor responsible for Health and Safety will carry out a “Risk Assessment” once a term and record their findings Performance Monitoring – This school expects full co-operation from all staff at all times
Every school will have policies and procedures for everyone in the setting. As well as staff or any adults visitors who come to the school will be following the health and safety procedures. Children will be taught the basic about health and safety – washing their hands, blowing their nose, so they understand what to do and they will have the school rules to follow related to their safety e.g not to run inside the building as there isn’t must space and they can trip, slip or fall over anything and that there is plenty of room when playing outdoors. They will be taught how to stay safe through age appropriate talks and stories, crossing the road, not running off, how to protect themselves if they feel vulnerable.
Practitioners will have training- ongoing and refreshers, in-house training and staff meetings etc. Staff may hold first aid certificates/handling food certificates; hold regular fire drills to make sure they are working and ensuring all electrical appliances are checked annually.
The headteacher will ensure that everyone knows their role and responsibilities to ensure that every health and safety precaution/procedure is followed. All staff should check/monitor that everyone/thing is safe. Child Illness – Making sure if the child can attend school, if the illness is contagious or not. If a child falls ill during school hours, you must follow the procedure of the first aid policy. Risk assessments are carried out daily as well to make sure that staff and students are safe at all times. E.g Check that the outdoor area is safe from ‘unknown objects’ and that all gates are locked during school hours so no one can come in or go out without signing in and out. Visitors will have to sign in and out at the main reception.
Policies and procedures should be checked on a regular basis (at least annually) to ensure that everything is in order – or added to adapted or changed as and when needed. How people in the setting are made aware of risk and hazards and encouraged to work safely
Information and instructions on health and safety matters are available at reception for parents, visitors. The information will be given to teachers, non teaching staff, pupils, governors and visitors as follows:
Staff are informed about all existing information held on site by regular
updates at staff meetings / induction packs Health and Safety Act on display in staff room
Fire drill / evacuation procedure on display around school
Use of white board in the staff room
Texts – messaging eg for snow days, emergency closure
The Health and Safety Policy is signed by staff
Deputy updates staff handbook annually and staff provided with regular updates re: health and safety Health and safety monthly item on the staff meeting agenda
Will make a suitable and sufficient “Risk Assessment” for all its activities where a significant risk is identified Will take the necessary preventative and protective measures to adequately control risk Will comply with the other requirements made under this and other Health and Safety Regulations Personal Safety – Members of Staff are reminded that they must not stand on tables or chairs when putting up or taking down displays, there is a step ladder in the hall for this purpose. Personal Property – Handbags etc. should be locked away. Money and valuables should not be left unattended. A lockable cupboard space is available to all staff Responsibility for personal items rests with the individual member of staff
Visitors and contractors are informed of any health and safety arrangements which may affect them. It is the responsibility of the teachers to ensure that pupils are aware of existing and new health and safety information via PSHC, class/whole school assemblies, verbal instruction, and demonstrations on use of equipment, class rules/behaviour protocol, signage eg do not run, yellow hazard cones. Fire Risk Assessment can be found in the deputy head’s office.
Identify the lines of responsibility and reporting for health and safety in the setting Everyone working in the setting should be aware of the health and safety policies and that they have a responsibility for the safety of the children and staff, in their setting they should know who to report to if they had any concerns regarding any health and safety issues. Statutory Health and Safety responsibilities fall on the LEA and on the headteacher and staff. Headteacher has overall responsibility for the school, she will,
in practice, be responsible for enforcing the Health and Safety policy day-to-day. The deputy head acts as the Health and Safety Officer on Site and staff Trade Unions or other safety representatives may be nominated. The governing body, as the management body, should ensure that school staff and premises comply with the LEA’s health and safety policy and practices.
The governing body, having control of the premises, must take reasonable steps to make sure that the buildings, equipment and materials are safe and do not put the health of persons at risk whilst they are on the premises. The Medication is administered by office staff and has a designated person assigned. Designated First Aid Area is by the main office, so if anything occurs during play /lunchtime the children know where to go. There are First Aiders around the school as teachers and T.A’s are trained, the First Aid boxes are located all round the school. Play Equipment – Visual inspection made formally by caretaker and informally by staff on duty at lunch /playtime PE co-ordinator checks equipment regularly, she follows current policy and practice ICT technician – this is outsourced and someone approved comes in to deal with any faults
The governing body shares with the Local Education Authority, the overall responsibility for health and safety. For its part the governing body will:- Ensure health and safety has a high profile.
Ensure adequate resources for health & safety are made available. Consult with staff and ensure relevant training is carried out. Monitor & review the health and safety arrangements
The Headteacher is responsible for day to day health and safety performance and will:- Develop a safety culture throughout the school
Take day to day operational decisions
Draw up safety procedures
Ensure staff are aware of their responsibilities
Monitor effectiveness of procedures
Site Manager and Cleaning Staff:
Take responsibility for the security of the premises.
Ensure the safe condition of the floors.
Store potentially dangerous cleaning materials safely
Ensure play and external areas are safe and clean from debris Ensure cleaning staff are aware of safe working practices and the school health & safety policyRecognise and respond to emergency situations In the classroom where children are being supervised, it is common to have child illness and some minor injuries from time to time. As a teaching assistant you may find that you are first to respond to an emergency situation and you may have to give emergency first aid. You will be expected to follow the correct procedures until help arrives. It is vital that you send for help as soon as possible, this should be a qualified first aider/trained member of staff and they should call for an ambulance if necessary. Emergency situations include:
Missing children or young people
If you are not trained in first aid, and if you are unsure about what to do, you should only take action to avoid any further danger to the casualty and others. First aid:
There will always be a designated first aider who will have a responsibility to contact emergency services if required and they will regularly check the first aid kit and ensure everyone knows they are individually responsible to let the first aider know when an item has been used and they will know about training opportunities and if asked be able to check the first aid training status of other employees. First aid kit:
Know where it is
Familiar with what it contains
Do you know how to use items appropriately
Fire alarms get tested once a term and they are recorded in a fire alarm booklet signed and dated by the headteacher, caretaker and fire officer. Where the fire exits are, they will always be clear of obstruction and there
will always be the evacuation routes where all the children learn the routine to come out without panicking and in an ordinary manner. There will be a designated fire assembly point for everyone to meets; the teachers will have the responsibility to take the register for their class to check names to ensure everyone is outside, present and safe.
The purpose of this policy is to:
To ensure that sick children are appropriately and correctly identified. To ensure sick children are cared for appropriately.
To protect children and adults from preventable infection.
To enable staff and parents to be clear about the requirements and procedures when children are unwell. Recognising illness:
When anyone has difficulty breathing, high temperature, fever, blueness around the lips, cold extremities, pale or clammy skin – floppy, unresponsive or unconscious. Conditions to be aware of would be epilepsy , asthma, allergy, diabetes.
Situations to be familiar with:
Bites and stings, bleeding, burns and scalds, choking, electric shock, extreme effects of heat and cold, eye injuries, poisoning, suspected fractures, caring for the unconscious person. Follow the setting’s procedures for dealing with emergency situations
All schools need to ensure that they take measures to protect all adults and children while they are on the school premises and undertaking off-site visits. This means there will be procedures in place for a number of situations that can arise. These include the following:
There should be enough first aiders in schools or on the trips at any time to deal with accidents. First-aid boxes should be checked regularly and replenished regularly, and there should be clear information on what has happened so that accidents are recorded correctly. If you are off site you should always have a first aider with you, along with a first-aid box and any medications that are required to any child who is with you for eg their inhaler.
School will deal with incidents of sickness by sending pupils to the sick room or first aid room for an initial assessment. However, sudden illness may require you to take action yourself while waiting for a first aider. The casualty should be made comfortable and insure that they are warm; there should be no attempt to carry out any further first aid. All staff should be aware of allergic reactions and intolerances to foods such as wheat, nuts and gluten. All staff should identify these children and have clear instructions available on how to deal with each case. Supervisors at lunch time will need to be kept informed. The lunchtime book contains photographs, contact numbers and information about pupils with food intolerance. Care should be taken with book due to confidentiality.
The school may need to evacuate in emergencies for example bomb scare, fire, floods or other emergencies.
Staff should challenge any unidentified people in the school, if you are on outside duty and notice anything suspicious you should always send for help.
On school trips you should check the group and keep an eye on children being supervised by helpers. If a child goes missing, raise an alarm straight away making sure you follow the policy.
Wheel chair users should assemble at specific fire assembling point. Oxygen tanks should not be moved, no naked flames in school. Teacher’s assistant should accompany all disabled children to fire assembly point where necessary.
Give reassurance and comfort to those involved in the emergency
When an emergency arises, they would call one of the main first aider to come and evaluate the injury. There are three main first aiders in school, one in each area of school. Foundation, Key stage 1 and in Key stage 2. All TAs have undergone St. John’s Ambulance ‘First Aid’ training. Also all staff has undergone ‘Basic’ first aid training. When there is an emergency, all the details of the incident will have to be logged, signed and dated by the main first aider that is dealing with the incident. If the incident is major then the main first aider after judging it will have to call the emergency services to come and treat the injured wound and then decide whether to take the child to the hospital or not.
Reassuring the child is very important so the child doesn’t get stressed, acting calm around the child is very important as it promotes a calm atmosphere and is reassuring that everything will be ok. The first aider moves the child to the sick room or first aid room of the school where all the other children can’t see the injury and stress the child even more. Comfort the child depending on the injury, for example if a child bites their inner cheek and was showing signs of distress due to losing lot of blood, the first aider should act in a professional manner showing no signs of distress.
If a child has a bump to the head and is showing signs of concussion then the child’s parents should be informed and invited to school to come and see the child. Also if the child has to go with the emergency service’s they would ask the parents if they would come along as it would make the child feel more comfortable. If there is a more minor injury that still needs medical assessment they would take the child in a member of staff’s car to the hospital/walk in – if it would be appropriate.
Also other times they would call the parent to come and collect the child. On the way they would reassure the child that it is only to make sure that they are okay. Also when travelling to the hospital they would take a record of what first aid was given to the child at school, or they take the main first aider that dealt with the injured child. Also making sure that other children are okay and safe is also important, maybe taking a buddy for the injured child would help them to be comfortable because then they have a buddy to take to while the first aid is happening or if the buddy could distract the child from the injury.
Give other people providing assistance, clear information about what happened
In a school placement they have good communication with all the people that provide assistance. For example an incident that happened in the school a couple of months ago that involved all three main first aiders, staff, emergency services, health and safety officer, head teacher, health and safety governor, governors, parents and Tameside. The incident happened after play time when the child has put his fingers in the door even though they had finger guards on already. The member of staff that was on the playground at the time was the first aider for that area of school and they had tried all they could to remove the fingers but was unable to do it alone, so they provided clear information on to the other main first aider so they were able to understand how this has happened. Also trying their best the fingers would not move, while this was happening they had three other members of staff that were providing the correct information onto the parents, emergency services, and one of them kept the child calm and reassuring them.
Once the parent came they comforted the child till the emergency services came and released the fingers from the door, once they were released the parents and the first aider went to the hospital with the child to make sure the fingers were not damaged. The first aider went along to pass on the information as to what happened to the child and this was passing on the clear information to the nurse/doctor that was assisting the child. After the correct information was passed on to the health and safety officer, and the health and safety governor they later went to the door where the child’s fingers were trapped and assessed what could have prevented it from happening.
They and the governors from the school came together and after passing on the information they came to an agreement to have rear finger guards fitted on all the doors in school so this wasn’t to happen again. After the incident the correct, clear and detailed information was later sent as an email to Tameside via the head teacher (safety officer) who suggested to Tameside to email all schools to have rear finger guards fitted on all doors in every Tameside school so this would prevent any child to have the same thing happen to them. Once the rear finger guards were fitted the governors of the school went and assessed the interior and exterior of the building to make sure there was not anywhere where this could happen again.
Follow the procedures of the setting of reporting and recording Reporting and recording is important even if you are not a first aider you still need to know how to report and record any information. You should know the correct procedure for reporting and recording injuries and incidents in your school placement, as you may be called upon to do so. When reporting or recording any type of injury, emergency, or even a minor incident then this must still be recorded step by step as to what happened and what member of staff is present at the time. Also dated, signed and reported to a senior member of staff. Recording any type of illnesses in a record log is important so all members of staff that need the information has this to relay back too if the child ever falls ill or becomes irritable. Also in some cases this information will have to be passed on to the local authority The office should have signs and posters showing what signs and symptoms of some illnesses that children may have or may show to have. Recording concerns is important so all staff are alert of the concerns that you are having.
Recording illness and having information with the record is important, for example you have a child with sickle cell and it is recorded then with this you would have information about sickle cell so all staff then can read and understand what the procedure is when this certain child is looking to have these symptoms or signs. Also in a school setting if a child is having behaviour issues having a home and school diary would also help the parents understand what is happening with their child in school hours. With the class teacher writing in this diary at the end of ever lesson explaining step by step how the child was and then making sure that parents are receiving the information asking them to sign the diary every night so they know that they have read it. An example of how we do it in the afterschool/breakfast club is we write ALL information in a purple book that is left on the side, recording all information like: What children are attending the club morning or after school
Who has cancelled
What injuries/incidents have happened during the club, who has dealt with the incident If there is any unusual behaviour by a child
Messages from parents to teachers or teachers to parents.
Many more piece of information that need recording and passing on, which is dated and signed by the member of staff who wrote it. This is later signed
by a parent to say that has been passed on, if it information from the club or if its information from the teacher – information from parents to teachers we make sure teachers sign to say that they have read the information.
Describe Risk Assessment and associated documentation in your placement. A risk assessment is an assessment that is carried out of the risk to children or adults at the school setting. Risk assessments carried out once a year and also carried out when on school trips or when doing a lesson that may involve a rick for the children/adults in the classroom. They follow 5 basic steps when they risk assess a situation:
1 Look out for the hazards and identify them.
2 Decide who may be harmed and how they can be harmed during the trip/lesson.
3 Evaluate the risks and consider how they can cause any kind of harm and decide whether precautions have to take.
4 Record any findings around the location that can cause harm.
5 Review assessments and revise it if it is necessary.
Risk assessments are important because it makes the adults more aware of what could happen and they have to be aware of how we can overcome the risks. Risk assessments contain the hazard, which may be affected by the hazard and how you can overcome the risks. Risk assessments can be carried out on children with broken limbs, school trips, lessons that can be dangerous, for example in class we made hot air balloons and it was important to do a risk assessment because it involved fire and the children/teachers could get harmed.
When assessing the risk the steps to follow would be:
What are the possible consequences of the risk / hazard?
What is the chances that the risk or hazard will occur?
Shall provide the appropriate resources to reduce the risk, taking appropriate steps and making sure that it reduces the risk and doesn’t make it more of a risk. All the staff will know the risk assessment policy if they have under gone the health and safety training.
In the mornings the head teacher and the care taker going around the school premises and make sure that there are no risks for when the children enter the premises. For example if there was a few twigs on the path then they would be a risk for when the parents and children walk down the path this means that they would then remove the twigs. When they get back into the building they write on a chart all the different areas of school and if there was a risk and if there wasn’t. This is a type of risk assessment that they do every morning.