Nowadays, Health and Safety underpins so much of life in general without you probably being aware of it but Health and Safety should always be at the forefront of school life.
A wealth of information exists to help us understand the complexities of it all. Some of my favourites are:
NASBM Health & Safety
DfE Health and Safety
This is to name but a few and I am sure that many of you will have other excellent sources of information.
That said, the management of school health and safety shouldn’t just stop at recording along the chain the amount of accidents during the school year. Just take a look at these statistics:
In my opinion, an important area often overlooked is the near miss scenario. This can often keep potential incidents under the radar but if not monitored could be an area where, as the saying goes “it was an accident just waiting to happen”.
This is just not confined to in-school times. Thought should also be given to the busy times of when the school day starts and finishes and the usual(unless you are lucky), to the increased traffic volume of children getting brought to school.
This highlights the problem quite nicely:
The near-miss register can be a valuable source of information that can be used to pre-empt the occasion before something serious happens and can identify patterns of where things are just not quite right.
Whilst accidents forms are common place, a simple near miss form can also be very effective.
As with all policy and procedures though in schools it is important to get “stakeholder” buy- in, and this can be done quite easily by:
- Making the policy widely available and in the school domain
- Apply a simple and clear approach, embedding it as part of the school H&S approach
- Act upon any findings quickly
- Have Governing Boards check the information and register as part of their H&S remit.
One thing to consider is that there may still be a need to make a report to RIDDOR if a dangerous occurrence has been identified, this could be direct or through your LA (as appropriate).
By Andy Heron - March 2017