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Support Children, Young People’s Health and Safety
How current health and safety legislation policies are
Any policy or procedure, which defines or relates to the health and safety of all individuals in a school, is written in compliance with the Health and Safety at work Act 1974 as this is the legislation and by law must be abided by.
Legislations are set by the law and are adhered to by making rules, policies and procedures for anywhere that is required to follow them, such as in a school setting.
The head teacher is responsible for health and safety legislation, ensuring the school meets the objectives which are set out within its own policies and that the procedures are actively applied and updated regularly and revised, also that all health and safety guidance issued by the local authority is available to all staff and that the appropriate training is offered to help the staff perform these tasks.
To ensure the environment is safe for the children the legislation requires risk assessments to be carried out at regular intervals for each room and outside space they use.
The staff also need to know what they need to do in order to keep themselves and the children safe from any dangers they could/ may find around the school the school. They are required to report any hazards they find to the relevant person, follow the schools safety policy, make sure that their actions do not harm themselves or others, use any safety equipment provided and ensure all equipment is safe and appropriate. The school by law is required to have a health and safety policy, this gives information to all staff to make sure the school is kept as safe as possible. All new staff joining the school is provided with relevant training in health and safety and what to do in an emergency. There is also a health and safety policy for staff, which they must read and sign to agree to adhere to all points in the policy.
Staff must ensure that any actions, which they take, are not likely to cause any harm or dangers to others within the school. This will include cleaning and tidying up of any equipment after use to ensure there is no risk of any potential risk occurring. For various jobs within the school such as handling food, doing experiments or attending to first aid incidents protective and safety equipment is provided and must be worn. This will be wearing plastic gloves and aprons whilst handling food to stop contamination, wearing Hi Viz jackets when off site to ensure staff and children are fully visible at all times. When using any materials and equipment within the classroom there are certain safety regulations they must meet to ensure they are fully safe and usable. Here are a couple of examples:
- The children’s act 1989 stipulates that as a school we must protect the children as far as we can when they are in our care and prevent any risks, which may occur. In my school this is implemented by ensuring all staff remain vigilant at all times by removing any risks such as coats and lunch boxes on the floor or in corridors, chairs left sticking out or wet floors where anyone can slip over. These risks can easily be removed ensuring a safe environment is maintained, but some hazards are not able to be as easily removed so all staff need to be aware of the procedures of reporting concerns through management.
- The act also allows children to be healthy by having a fruit as a free snack and ensuring fruit and vegetables are available as a choice at dinner times, this encourages them to have their 5 a day. It requires children not only to be safe but to feel safe within their school environment this is ensured by having locked gates and CCTV on all gates ensuring only those permitted are allowed on the grounds. The school has an obligation under this act to ensure all staff are fully CRB checked, qualified and given regular training to ensure they keep to date with the ever changing legislations and policies.
- RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences). This is a legislation regarding reporting and record keeping of injuries. It sets out which illness and injuries need to be reported to the Health and safety executive or the local authority. It is set out within the schools health and safety policy the procedures, which need to be followed for these occurrences, and the legislation sets out which ones need reporting. Every school needs to have an accident book and injuries need to be documented in there.
- COSHH (The control of substances Hazardous to health regulations). The use of hazardous substances within schools can present hazards to staff and children so measures need to be put in place to eliminate any injuries occurring. The legislation also states that when using any hazardous chemicals protective clothing and equipment must be provided and used. Every school must be COSHH compliant.
The picture below shows examples of Hazard symbols which will be visible on any hazardous chemicals and defines which ones need to be kept in a locked cupboard as may cause an injury.
The UN convention on rights of a child is a treaty, which was drawn up by the governments worldwide to promise all children the same rights no matter who they are or where they come from. This is implemented in the school by ensuring all equipment and materials used are targeted for the specific age, so age and stage appropriate. This will also include making sure the desks and chairs are the correct size for the age of the children.
Schools must have policies to ensure the children and staffs are kept safe. There are many different policies within a school, which they draw up as their own guidelines for how the legislation is to be followed on the school premises. Some of the policies that are in place to set out how to adhere to the health and safety act are: Accident and Incident policy
- Site security Policy
- Visitors to the school
- Hazardous substances Policy
- Vehicular movement on site policy
- Critical incident policy
Wherever there is a policy in place there will always be procedures in place too, these are set to show and tell you how the policy will be adhered to. This is quite clearly shown within the fire policy, it shows exactly what must happen in case of a fire or a drill and where everyone needs to meet and who needs to do what to ensue a safe exit is made by all.
How health and safety is monitored and maintained
Health and safety is monitored and maintained in a number of ways within the school, there is a Health and safety policy, which all staff are given and must read, they are required to sign to declare they understand and will fully comply to it. This will outline their main areas of responsibilities and the procedures for doing so. Staff training needs to be kept current and up to date so any amendments in the legislation or policies need to be passed on and implemented by all staff members quickly.
Risk assessments are carried out regularly by the schools health and safety officer, this is done every six months to ensure all tools, equipment and the environment are fully safe and compliant. All electrical equipment should have the annual up to date approved PAT tested sticker on to confirm it is safe to use. Fire extinguishers should be checked annually and recorded on the outside of it. These tests ensure the equipment is fully maintained and fit for purpose.
On a daily basis all staff should remain vigilant to prevent any hazards occurring, by constant monitoring and the removal of any dangers will ensure a safe and healthy environment for the children to learn in. Dangers can be coats and lunch boxes lying on the floor causing a trip hazard, water on the floor from the sink, chairs being left out, the classroom being at the wrong temperature or defected furniture. These are all dangers, which can easily be removed, but some hazards will need reporting and these should be recorded and reported immediately before an accident or incident occurs.
A risk assessment is always carried out before any out of school visit can take place. This will ascertain what could go wrong and how that can be prevented. The school has a school trip policy and within that are procedures to follow if certain instances were to occur. Within the assessment it will outline all responsibilities for all members of staff attending on the visit
Fire drills are practised every six months to ensure everyone in the school knows and adheres to the policy and fully follows all the procedures which are in place to ensure a quick and safe exit is made from the building to the specified fire meeting place.
Regular staff meeting are held, where health and safety is always top priority on the agenda. Staff are reminded of any issues and informed of any specific hazard, which may have arisen.
Audits are always done on accidents and incidents, this is to monitor why and how they have occurred and what preventative measures can be put in place to minimise the risks of them reoccurring.
Aware of risks and hazards and encouraged to work safely
All staff need to be aware of and are responsible for being vigilant at all times on health and safety matters. They need to be aware of the procedures of reporting concerns through management. Health and safety should be on the agenda and discussed at all staff meetings, any concerns, which are raised, should be dealt with immediately. Staff at all times should be visually monitoring, checking fire doors are clear, shelves are safe, equipment is safe and fit for use, etc. Safety checks should be routinely carried out on a regular basis. The head teacher should have a regular walk around to check there are no hazards, which have gone unreported. If a hazard is found then the correct procedures should be followed, reported and dealt with as soon as possible.
All electrical equipment is required to be PAT tested annually and display an approved sticker on it confirming its safe to use and the date the test is next due. If the equipment is past its inspection date the equipment should not be used and a notice put on it saying, “ do not use”. PAT test needs to be carried out by a qualified electrician,
Fire extinguishers also need to be checked annually and the date of all checks and maintenance should be recorded and labelled on them.
Staff and others in the school need to think about health and safety at all times, if there is a spillage a wet floor sign needs to be immediately placed around the area to warn people of the slip hazard. The spillage can then be cleaned up as soon as possible. The school is required to carry out annual risk assessment to ascertain which areas of the school are most hazardous and ensure every measure is taken to minimise the risk of any accidents occurring.
The school has a health and safety policy, which sets guidelines the staff, must follow relating to all health and safety issues within the school, procedures are quite clearly set ensuring all staff are fully aware of what they need to do if an incident or emergency was to occur. This ensures the school is a safe as possible environment. All new staff are provided with a copy of this policy which they must read and sign to agree to abide by it all times. They are given health and safety training and told what they need to do in emergencies.. All staff working in school has the responsibility to ensure that children are cared for and safe. The Children’s Act 1989 requires that we protect children as far as we can when they are in our care. By taking a balanced approach to risk management will ensure we are abiding by this act.
Children as well as staff in school need to be aware of risks and hazards and are taught to keep themselves as safe as possible. There are a variety of ways in school we teach and show the children about health and safety issues they need to be aware of, here are a few:
- Posters around the school on hygiene
- Safety and hazard symbols they need to be aware of
- Allowing the children to take part in carrying out the risk assessments Signs around the school they need to adhere to
- Ensuring they know what and when to report issues to adults
- Hand washing pictures I the toilet
- PSCO visits to teach the children about stranger danger
Fire officers to teach children about fire risks and how to leave a building quickly and safely in the event of a fire. Schools have eco warriors to help look after the environment ensuring it is safe and secure at all times Teaching they know about balanced risk management.Date: Oct 14,2021