Division Health and Safety Report November 2018

From the NEU

Work and Suicide


This document discusses warning signs that people might pick up on, as well as making suggestions as to how the resultant issues could best be dealt with. Relevant websites are listed and the concatenation between suicidal feelings and the need to have effective work policies regarding stress, workload, bullying and violence is explored.


is the address of the public health education suicide prevention toolkit.

From the Department of Health and Social Care

Epipen shortage


Due to ongoing constraints affecting EpiPen 300mcg and Epipen 150mcg devices, some adults and children may need to switch from their usual device to other alternative adrenaline auto-injector devices that may be more readily available. The different brands of adrenaline auto-injectors are not used in exactly the same way and therefore specific training and advice is required for each of the devices. Information on this issue is included in the document found at

https://www.cas.mhra.gov.uk/ViewandAcknowledgment/ViewAttachment.aspx?Attachment _id=103102.

Guidance on how to use different devices is available via the following link:


Furthermore, recently it has been approved that certain batches of adult EpiPen can be safely used for four months after the expiry date has passed – further information about these batches is available on the EpiPen website http://www.epipen.co.uk/ or via healthcare professionals.


has the latest information and a list of epipens that can be used after their sell-by date

As with all EpiPens, patients should periodically visually inspect the adrenaline solution through the viewing window to make sure the solution is clear and colourless. If it is discoloured or contains solid particles the EpiPen should be replaced as soon as possible.



provides a range of information to help people who live with allergies, as well as for organisations who want to find out more about the issues that people with allergic disease face in their daily lives. They have factsheets on a number of topics including:

Peanut Allergy, Travelling With Allergies [ including information about flying with an allergy], Anaphylaxis and Severe Allergic Reaction,  Asthma and Respiratory Allergy, Food Allergies, Eczema / Dermatitis, Urticaria (Hives) and Other Skin Allergies, Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis), Drug Allergies and much more.



School pupil death: ‘Missed opportunities’ led to fatal minibus incident

Bridgend County Borough Council has been fined following the death of one pupil and injury to another after they were involved in a collision with the school minibus.

Following its investigation into the death of 15-year-old Ashley Talbot, the HSE has urged schools to review traffic arrangements within their grounds, and where possible design layouts so pupils are separated from moving traffic.

Cardiff Crown Court was told how, on 10 December 2014, Ashley was crossing the road in the grounds of Maesteg Comprehensive School to board his bus home when the collision took place. Ashley was pronounced dead at the scene. Another pupil was also injured.

The HSE found the layby created before the school opened in September 2008 was never large enough to accommodate all school buses at home time. This had been identified by council officers, but Bridgend Council made no plans to enlarge the layby so that pupils could board safely from the pavement.

For three years before the collision, some school buses had been parking on the other side of the road, which had no pavement, leaving children to board in the middle of the road while other vehicles were able to travel in both directions between the waiting buses.

Bridgend County Borough Council of Civic Offices, Angel Street, Bridgend pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £29,228.

HSE inspector Helen Turner said “We hope this prosecution will serve as a reminder to those with a responsibility of care to address transport risk in schools and actively monitor that their arrangements are effective to keep children safe.”

HSE currently inspecting schools as to the efficacy of asbestos management

Details available at http://www.hse.gov.uk/foi/internalops/og/og-00104.pdf

Support and guidance is available at this site.

Managing Ionising Radiations and Radioactive Substances in Schools and Colleges

CLEAPSS have issued the revised (October 2018) L93 Guide on Managing Ionising Radiations and Radioactive Substances in Schools and Colleges.  It can be downloaded from the CLEAPSS website along with the guide GL114 which outlines the changes and required actions.


This document is in the public domain whereas  GL114 is for subscribers only.

From Essex


Essex have updated their Asbestos Management Policy

Community and V/C schools (if all or part of the premises was built before 2000 and there is no architects’ statement available that asbestos was not used) are required to have at least one member of staff who has been trained in asbestos management within the previous 3 years. This would normally be the site supervisor and/or a member of the senior management team. In order to meet the required training standard, it should have been delivered either by ECC Corporate Health and Safety; or by another competent provider of asbestos management training. Proof of completion of the training (such as an attendance certificate) must be sent to the ECC Corporate health and Safety Team by e-mail at hs@essex.gov.uk.  Line managers need to ensure that where staff have responsibilities for managing asbestos, they are provided with sufficient information and support, including attending appropriate training as required by ECCs ‘Training, Awareness and Competency’ [HSP 6.0]. For school establishments, asbestos training is available through EES https://www.eescpdportal.org/

NEU Essex Website Health and Safety Report October 2018

Asbestos Management

Recently there have been 3 incidents, in Essex Schools, where employees have been exposed to asbestos fibres. Bearing in mind that it was the contractors, chosen by the schools, who had not followed adequate procedures, Schools should endeavour to employ competent workers as opposed to simply selecting the cheapest. Essex County Council is also looking to provide further advice on this issue in the near future.

Furthermore the recent Health and Safety Internal Monitoring report revealed that out of the 204 Schools that manage asbestos, 45 indicated that they do not have a member of staff trained in asbestos management.  Essex County Council run courses appertaining to this issue.  It was noted that in one of the schools where exposure occurred, the last person to be trained attended a course eight years ago!


is where the union’s asbestos advice can be found.

HSE to inspect the quality of asbestos management in schools

The HSE will shortly be commencing a programme of single issue inspections in schools to assess the effectiveness of the management arrangements to control the risks associated with asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in schools. The inspections aim to visit a wide range of schools. School employers have been required to manage asbestos since 2004 to ensure that staff, pupils and contractors are not exposed to ACMs within schools.

Kent County Council fined 200K for School asbestos exposure

Full article available a t


Canterbury Crown Court was told how, on 6 November 2014, an environmental health officer was carrying out a routine food inspection when they noticed what looked like asbestos rope hanging from the ceiling.

The HSE found that the flue and gasket rope was attached to a steriliser unit that was removed by the caretaker. The investigation also revealed that neither the caretaker nor the head teacher had any asbestos management or awareness training. The council failed to effectively prevent exposure and failed to provide suitable training to those liable to be exposed to asbestos.

Gauze mat Asbestos alert


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been made aware that two UK laboratory supply companies have supplied schools and potentially other users with gauze mats which contain asbestos. The metal gauze mats are designed for use over Bunsen burners.

“Although the risk of exposure is low, we took action as soon as we were informed. HSE Inspectors ensured supply of the asbestos-containing gauze mats stopped immediately.”


has further advice and advocates that where gauzes contain asbestos or where teachers think they might contain asbestos they should not be used. There is a list of commonly asked questions and the relevant answers in relation to this issue.


is where you can find the necessary procedures for disposing of the gauzes safely.

From Essex County Council

Corporate Health and safety meeting/Schools Health, Safety and Welfare Committee meeting  11/9/18.

The Health and Safety Internal Monitoring results from last year were analysed and some of the stand out issues were:

41 (18%) Schools indicated that they do not have a Stress Risk Assessment in place.

12 (8%) schools who have an Occupational Stress Risk Assessment have not reviewed it in the last year.  Schools were also asked had a Team Occupational Stress Risk Assessment Action Plan been produced as a result of the assessment. 57% hadn’t.

34% (76) of schools indicated that they do not have access to a Property Consultant.  This is up by 7% this year and a continual year on year increase of 17% from 2014/15. A Property Consultant is required if major building or improvement works are undertaken that may disturb the fabric of the building and their employment should reduce the risk of dangerous occurrences such as the asbestos related incidents noted earlier.

Sling Health and Safety Alert


Here you will find what to do if you have a Molift 2 point sling bar, which has been subject to a Health and Safety alert. Apparently the red hooks have been known to break, when improperly used or stored.

From the HSE

Stress toolkit


Bearing in mind employers have a legal duty to protect employees from stress at work, the HSE have launched a toolkit which can be downloaded from the site above. In the last 12 months, over half a million working days were lost in secondary schools due to stress, depression or anxiety, which was caused or made worse by work. The aim is that by using the toolkit, stress in the workplace will be reduced.

The Talking Toolkit is a simple, practical guide to help line managers in schools have conversations about issues which may be causing work-related stress or issues which could have the potential to become future causes if not managed properly. The toolkit has six templates for six different conversations [namely demands, relationships, control, support, role and change] as well as ideas and resources from charities, Trade Unions, the Department for Education and Ofsted which your school can use to prevent stress.

Teachers’ Responsibility When Making Safeguarding Referrals

This question was discussed at a recent South-East meeting.

Is it incumbent upon a member of staff who reports concerns regarding the safekeeping of a pupil to follow up the issue themselves and if necessary report it to higher authorities, such as the police, if they feel the problems have not been dealt with accurately?

The flow chart on page 13 of the “Keeping Children Safe in Education” document states that “At all stages, staff should keep the child’s circumstances under review (involving the designated safeguarding lead (or deputies) as required), and re-refer if appropriate, to ensure the child’s circumstances improve – the child’s best interests must always come first.”

It also specifies that the referrer must be informed as to the action that will be taken and the decisions that have been made as part of the process.

Where staff remain dis-satisfied about the measures taken:

“All staff and volunteers should feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and potential failures in the school’s or college’s safeguarding regime and know that such concerns will be taken seriously by the senior leadership team.

Appropriate whistleblowing procedures, should be put in place for such concerns to be raised with the school’s or college’s senior leadership team.

Where a staff member feels unable to raise an issue with their employer, or feels that their genuine concerns are not being addressed, other whistleblowing channels may be open to them:”

Firstly it advocates following the advice found at https://www.gov.uk/whistleblowing where it is pointed out that you are protected by law if you blow the whistle, unless you report it to the media, and therefore shouldn’t be treated unfairly afterwards.

You can tell your employer – they may have a whistleblowing policy that tells you what to expect if you report your concern to them. You can still report your concern to them if they don’t have a policy. The government’s advice is “Every school maintained by the local authority should have a whistleblowing procedure. Whistleblowing procedures protect staff members who report colleagues they believe are doing something wrong or illegal, or who are neglecting their duties.”

You could also inform a prescribed person or body as listed within this document. In terms of education the Children’s Commissioner or the NSPCC are possible whistleblowing routes.


is the place on the web where the NEU’s advice can be found.

It stipulates that members thinking of blowing the whistle speak to your local NUT rep first before taking any action.  Both the government and employers have said a great deal about encouraging openness and transparency in the workplace, but case law demonstrates both the inadequacy of legal protection for whistleblowers and the less than enlightened attitudes of some employers.  How an organisation says it will treat whistleblowers in its policies can be very different to how it treats them in practice.  Therefore always seek to ensure that you are fully aware of the consequences of blowing the whistle.  In certain circumstances e.g. child protection and fraud, you may have a moral and a contractual duty to expose wrongdoing.

  • The NSPCC whistleblowing helpline is also available as an alternative route for staff who do not feel able to raise concerns regarding child protection failures internally or have concerns about the way a concern is being handled by their school or college. Staff can call 0800 028 0285 –the line is available from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Monday to Friday and email: help@nspcc.org.uk12

Essex Division AGM Report 2018


NEU H&S Website Report July 2018 from Paul Bundy

Corporate Health and Safety Meeting and Schools’ Health Safety and Welfare Committee Meeting 12/6/18

Essex County Council has decided to survey all schools under their jurisdiction, with a view to ascertaining a more accurate picture of the extent of cladding on school buildings. Various support documents are in the process of being sent to schools in order to assist the process. These materials are also being put on the Infolink. If there is cladding in a school adjacent to a fire exit or place of refuge, there is a risk that fire could get into the cladding or smoke could get in to the building and compromise escape. However this is a small risk as, in reality, everyone should be out of a school within 3-4 minutes in the event of fire. A drafted letter has been sent to non-community schools to say they might consider doing something similar to the survey that Essex County Council has issued.

From Essex County Council

Inspections Policy

This has been produced by ECC and aims to make sure that Health and Safety Inspections are carried out in the correct manner in schools and with reasonable frequency. It states that Head Teachers must invite employee representatives or unions to be part of the inspection of the premises, should they wish to be involved. It defines the roles of the Health and Safety Coordinator, the Head teacher and site management staff.

It points out that Full School Premises Inspection Tour (including grounds) must be completed on a termly basis. Offices should also be inspected each term, whilst workshops, such as D and T areas must be formally and thoroughly inspected at least annually.

The need to keep records of findings and devise an action plan following inspections has also been addressed.

For those who subscribe to the service the document can be found at https://schools.essex.gov.uk/admin/hs/Secure/HSM/Pages/inspections.aspx

Driving for Work Policy

This policy has been amended by Essex County Council. This document replaces Driving for Work HSP 9.23 (V3.1 – August 2017).

It has been amended to reflect a change in grey fleet driver licence [employees or volunteers who drive their own vehicle on council business) and to amend wording regarding drinking and driving (section 5.3). This can be found at https://schools.essex.gov.uk/admin/hs/Secure/staff/Pages/driving.aspx

Mobile Phones and Driving Policy

This has been updated too. This document replaces the Mobile Phones and Driving HSP 9.42 (V1.1 – August 2017). It has been revised to take account of the possible occasional use of hands free mobile phone devices.

Generally hands free devices should not be used when driving, but the policy does list some exceptions to this rule, also identifying the potential ramifications for drivers should they make the decision to use such technology whilst in control of a vehicle

Jewellery in PE

Essex County Council has requested that a reminder is sent to parents of children in Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools that all jewellery must be removed for PE. Schools that buy into the H&S Service are advised to follow this policy. Schools are advised to remind parents towards the end of the summer term of this policy so any pupils who plan to get their ears pierced can hopefully do this at the start of the summer holidays.

DfE updates statutory guidance for schools, including advice on tackling sexual harassment and violence.

This comes into force on September 3rd 2018 and until that time schools and colleges must follow the 2016 guidance.

The guidance sets out the legal duties schools must follow to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under the age of 18 in schools and colleges.

The revised “Keeping Children Safe in Education,” statutory guidance now provides additional advice to help school and college staff deal with allegations of child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment.  It pertains to children of all ages.

It stresses that staff should take immediate action and speak to the designated safeguard lead if they have a concern about a child’s wellbeing.

Where reasonably possible, schools and colleges should hold more than one emergency contact number for each pupil or student.

Advice has been provided on how to prevent violence and sexual harassment in schools and the document has been welcomed by the NEU. The role of staff, what they need to know and what they should do if they have concerns is outlined. The potential signs of abuse have been listed. The importance of record keeping has been made explicit. The issue of what to do if other staff members are considered to be acting in such a way that is harmful to children is addressed. Domestic abuse, FGM, honour violence, homelessness and the potentiality for radicalisation are other issues addressed. There are lists of useful contact numbers.

The relevant documents can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education–2

Sun Safety

At https://www.teachers.org.uk/help-and-advice/health-and-safety?page=1 you can find the NEU’s advice on sun safety.

Skin cancer is now the most common form of cancer in this country, with over 40,000 new cases registered every year, and it is almost always caused by the sun.  This document advocates the development of School Sun Safety policies, the use of protective wear and sun screen.

As for the problem of hot classrooms and school environments


gives thorough advice.

This document considers the statutory provisions that can be used to protect teachers and pupils despite the absence of a legal maximum highest working temperature. The NEU believes that 26°C should be the absolute maximum temperature in which teachers should be expected to work, other than for very short periods.  It is important that all schools have in place contingency plans to help staff and pupils cope with the heat.

The HSE’s Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) on the 1992 Regulations requires employers to take all reasonable steps to achieve a reasonably comfortable temperature. There is a substantial list of measures that schools could/should take to ensure they meet the regulations.

Again, these legal requirements can be enforced by HSE health and safety inspectors who may issue notices to employers obliging them to comply with these requirements.

The NEU considers that, in schools, other steps may also need to be considered such as closing classrooms which are unacceptably hot and teaching classes elsewhere, or even sending pupils home, provided reasonable notice has been given to parents.

It is important not to neglect security issues which will arise when windows and doors are left open and to consider the risks posed by intruders.

The Union advises that where any problems are encountered in schools as a result of high temperature, NEU safety representatives should take these up as a matter of urgency with the head teacher and seek to resolve the situation. If any problems arise, such as the head teacher refusing to take the actions , or if adjustments made do not have any significant effect, NEU safety representatives are advised to contact the NEU adviceline on 0203 006 6266.

School Visits

This document has been updated and can be found at


Topics included are sources of guidance, including that provided by the Dfe, how to organise a visit and the appropriate legal obligations and standards of care, the need for Educational Visit Coordinators in schools, risk assessments for planned trips, recommended pupil/staff ratios, obtaining parental consent and the levels of information that need to be given to parents. Where things go wrong, there is some advice about what to do.  The Learning Outside of the Classroom scheme is addressed. More can be found out about this scheme at www.lotc.org.uk.

There is a section on taking pupils on adventurous activities. The NUT advises schools to consult the licence register at


before making any bookings.

With particular reference to water based activities, the NEU advises that no water-based activity should take place unless at least one qualified life-saver is present, even if pupils are just paddling.  Only life-savers whose qualifications have been verified and are up-to-date should be used.

As for Adventurous activities abroad, the NEU recommends that the British Standard for Adventurous Activities 8848 (BS 8848} be followed. It can be found here https://www.bsigroup.com/LocalFiles/en-GB/consumer-guides/resources/BSI-Consumer-Brochure-Adventurous-Activities-UK-EN.pdf

Teachers are advised to use the School Travel Forum, which can be found at  www.schooltravelforum.com

, if they are organising trips abroad.

The OEAP [Outdoor Advisers Educational Panel] which has a website at


has produced an excellent summary of the different types of insurance that are needed with regard to school trips.  Insurance Good Practice can be downloaded at http://oeapng.info/downloads/download-info/4-4c-insurance.

Reports From Officers

Reports for 2017-2018 will appear here

Health and Safety Report Dec 2017
Health & Safety Report 5th Feb 2018
Secretary’s Report 2005/06
Secretary’s Report 2006/07
Secretary’s Report 2007/08
Secretary’s Report 2008/09
Secretary’s Report 2009/10
Secretary’s Report 2010/11