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 e.g pupils, support workers and parents. These pieces of legislation are:
The Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974
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 vigilant 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 e.g if staff use equipment it must be cleared away properly and if staff see a potential hazard it must be reported appropriately.
- If safety equipment is provided, then staff must ensure it is used at all times e.g if gloves are provided for using hazardous materials in science, then they must be worn.
- 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 CE mark should also have the name and address of the