Health and Safety Regulations in Schools

Ensuring the safety of pupils and staff members in schools is absolutely critical. A key requirement of safety in school is complying with duties outlined by the Health and Safety Law. In this article we will explore in more detail the key pieces of law which impact educational establishments.

A safe environment gives pupils a platform to flourish, to achieve their potential, and a commitment to safety can enhance a schools reputation and is a key requirement of Ofsted inspections.

We will place particular emphasis on the two most important elements of health and safety legislation that govern schools which are the:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act etc. 1974
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Health and Safety at Work Act etc. 1974

Schools are bound by the Health and Safety Act which outlines a framework for keeping safe, not only employees in their work activities, but also pupils and visitors who may be affected by work activities.

The duty is placed on employees for ensuring the health, safety and welfare of employees as ‘far as is reasonably practicable’ this includes:

  • Ensuring the provision and maintenance of the working environment so that workers are safe and without risk
  • Providing training and supervision on health and safety
  • Ensuring proper safety considerations are in place when using, handling, storing and transporting articles and substances
  • Making sure that Health and Safety Policies are written and brought to the attention of employees.

The Act also outlines that non-employees and visitors shouldn’t be exposed to health and safety risks and emphasis is placed on a greater duty of care when young or vulnerable persons may be affected.

Other notable areas that impact schools is the responsibility to ensure that premises, plant and machinery do not endanger those who use them.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

The other key health and safety regulation that schools must adhere to is the 1999 Management of Health and Safety at work Regulations. The most important takeaway of this regulation is the need for risk assessments and the implementation of risk controlling measures that have been identified in an assessment to mitigate and eliminate risk.

Other Health and Safety Regulations

There are various other regulations that schools should be aware of including:

  • The Workplace, (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 – These regulations focus more on the physical conditions of the workplace including buildings, equipment, temperature, toilets and lighting.
  • Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 – These dictate that both equipment and facilities for first-aid should be properly provided and that there should be an appropriate number of certified first aiders on premises.

 

In this article we have explored some of the key regulations that schools must comply with for Health & Safety. There are however, a number of standards purely for school premises that should also be adhered to, read our other article to find out more.

When implementing safe practices throughout schools it is important to take a thorough and systematic approach and we recommend prioritising key areas for implementation to ensure a more effective approach to action.

To find out more about how we can help schools, nurseries and playgroups become safer environments, visit our schools page.