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Health and safety in schools: a checklist for the Autumn term.

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The Autumn term can whizz by in a flash. Settling in the new children, staff inductions and new policies to implement. Regularly undertaking a health and safety audit across your school is beneficial. If you are a part of a MAT, undertaking the same H&S checklist can save money in the long run, streamlining processes and systems.

 

Download Medical Tracker’s Health and Safety checklist for schools: Autumn term edition.

 

Who is responsible for health and safety in a school?

Every employer (including schools) must legally follow the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Meaning the employer is ultimately responsible for health and safety in the workplace. This would be the headteacher, Multi-Academy Trust CEO or the proprietor for independent schools. Day-to-day health and safety responsibilities lie with the headteacher and the senior leadership team. They are responsible for the staff, pupils and visitors who enter the school premises. Teachers are expected to look after children in their care the same way a cautious parent might; this also extends to off-site school trips. In a school, it is often more complex than having one person responsible for health and safety as there are so many areas of H&S. Here are some of the main areas of health and safety in schools.

  • Fire safety
  • Building and maintenance
  • Staff health and safety training and CPD
  • First aid and pupil health Safeguarding and welfare
  • Working at height and manual handling
  • Emergency procedures

Schools may have a designated person for each area, often reportable to the headteacher or a member of the senior leadership team. It is helpful to audit all areas of health and safety in one checklist.

 

Health and safety in schools: a checklist for the Autumn term.

There are 8 main aspects to H and S in your school. Remind yourself of each section and the roles and responsibilities of designated leaders in these sections.

 

Health and safety in schools Section 1: External areas and playground equipment.

Playground equipment

All set out in the health and safety policy, the school's indoor and outdoor environment should be as safe as reasonably possible. Health and safety aspects of maintained school buildings and playgrounds are covered by the Schools Premises Regulations 2012. The Schedule to the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 (part 4) is used for independent schools and academies.

The playground is one of the most-loved parts of the school grounds; it is also a top injury location for school first-aid incidents. It is useful to monitor the playground locations that have high rates of first aid incidents recorded. Reacting proactively to increase the necessary training, supervision, or equipment maintenance to reduce pupil injury rates.

 

Health and safety in schools Section 2: Emergency procedures.

different types of fire extinguishers

Schools will have an emergency plan for most serious situations: the event of a fire, first aid emergency, the necessity for school lockdown, managing infectious diseases, safeguarding concerns and significant severe weather warnings.

Sharing these procedures with staff regularly, especially new staff members during their induction, helps to keep the procedure in mind in an emergency.

 

Health and safety in schools Section 3: Buildings.

Children in a school laboratory

School leadership should aim to reduce the potential for avoidable risks linked to property and premises-related issues. Your school may have specialist rooms like science labs, gymnasiums or performance stages that pose additional risks and hazards.

Regularly auditing the building use, maintenance and hazards through a health and safety checklist for schools can help to minimise risk for staff, pupils and visitor.

 

Health and safety in schools Section 4: First aid provision.

first aid (1)

Your school must have an effective first aid provision to remain health and safety compliant, including having a suitable number of first aid trained staff members, a fully stocked first aid kit (you can find our downloadable first aid checklist here), and a robust system for recording and monitoring first aid incidents.

Accidents can happen in schools, so your staff team must be supported through accident investigations using online recorded incidents, witness statements and the option to upload supporting media.

Medication administration and expiring medication must be recorded and tracked effectively. Online MAR sheets help teachers record when medication has been taken and the correct dosage and inform parents automatically.

Contact one of the Medical Tracker team to learn about all the features accessible through Medical Tracker for your school, nursery or Multi Academy Trust.

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