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
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
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.
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