Not Health and Safety I hear you all groan.
Well…. Yes, Health and Safety! With such innumerable responsibilities forming a part of a Business Managers job, I personally found H&S a difficult one to take control of, and certainly one that I lacked confidence in getting to grips with. Whether it was putting all the correct measures in place for a school trip, or assessing the risks of an experiment in Science, I sometimes felt that I lacked the self-assurance to know that I had ‘got it right’.
For all of you who have felt, or may still feel that way, I would like to recommend that you undertake your IOSH training. The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is the British organisation for Health and Safety professionals. Google it and you will find a myriad of courses available, some online, but personally I think it is training that needs face to face contact and other participants to bounce ideas off. I am not going to pretend that it was the most exciting training I had ever undertaken, after all some of the subject matter could be considered a little dry. However, it was four days very well spent. The thought of sitting a test at the end of the fourth day galvanised me into learning that risk = likelihood x consequence, and that a good risk assessment is based on identify, estimate, evaluate, record and review. Having learnt them I have, by and large, remembered them.
The most important lesson I learnt was how to approach a risk assessment and therefore mitigate risk. Nothing is ever going to be 100% safe, accidents will happen, totally unforeseen events can occur. But by understanding how to put a risk assessment together, and being able to carry out a comprehensive review of those across the school, I really felt that, for the first time, I had a clear understanding of what I was trying to achieve.
I now have the confidence to ensure that department risk assessments are reviewed and taken ownership of, that Mrs Harbuckle understands what to do if the mini bus breaks down on the way to her Geography field trip, and that the contractors on site follow the guidelines we have laid down for their own and everyone else’s H&S. I haven’t taken over the world (yet!) but do feel empowered by my additional knowledge.
And yes……. I can see the expression on my colleagues faces if they think ‘Mrs Elf and Safety’ is approaching! And despite it all I do think I’m still quite an interesting person!
By Rowena Morris - July 2017