School. You drop off your little ones safe in the knowledge that they are safe, not only with police checked staff but in an environment which is specifically designed to keep them out of harms way.
Unlike building sites, mines, factories and other such environments, schools aren’t generally considered to be dangerous. However, these educational institutions are certainly not without their risks. A host of hazards can lurk in even the most seemingly benign places.
It’s no surprise then that effective risk management is a priority for head teachers and other managers. and fortunately, they can now take advantage of a range of training programmes to help ensure they really know their stuff when it comes to controlling danger. For example, they can book NEBOSH training courses that cover a host of topics.
Doubtful? There are just some of the safety issues that school bosses have to deal with.
The use of asbestos has long been prohibited in the UK, but unfortunately, this hazardous material is still present in many older buildings. Worryingly, the Department for Education estimates that more than three-quarters of schools in England and Wales contain the material. In addition, over 140 teachers are reported to have died from the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma in the past decade.
School managers have to check whether asbestos is present in their buildings and, if it is, ensure they have details of its location and condition. They must also make sure they understand the relevant safety precautions needed to protect both staff and students. The existence of asbestos within schools can affect a range of things, including the way rooms are used and the procedures required for renovations or other building projects.
Fire obviously represents another potential risk. For safety purposes, fire doors must be unobstructed, unlocked and easy to open from the inside and there should also be suitable fire fighting equipment situated within classrooms and other areas.
Fire evacuation procedures must be clearly displayed and evacuation drills must also be put in place, including any special arrangements for vulnerable children or adults. I used to love these fire drills when I was at school - an excuse to lurk on the school field for a while, dodging double maths while our heads were counted.
To minimise the risk of fires and electrocutions, it’s crucial that all electrical switches and plug sockets are kept in a good state of repair. The same applies to plugs, cables and electrical equipment, such as computers and laminators. Any problems with electricals must be dealt with immediately.
Classroom layout and condition
The layout and condition of classrooms is another key point for managers to bear in mind. Flooring should be kept in a good state of repair to help minimise the risk of slips and trips, and changes in floor level may need to be highlighted if they pose a risk. Bring on the yellow tape!
Meanwhile, gangways between desks should be kept clear and trailing electrical leads kept to a minimum. In addition, lighting should be bright enough to allow safe access and exit and it’s also important that there are procedures in place to deal with any spillages of water, blood or other substances.
These are just a small selection of the safety issues that affect schools, but they help to highlight exactly why effective training is so important for the people who teach and care for our children.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post