Do you know who is responsible for your Schools Health & Safety?
Overall accountability for health and safety lies with the employer of the members of staff in the school. However day-to-day running of the school including responsibility for the health and safety of staff and pupils is normally delegated to the head teacher and school management team. They have a key role in making sure risks are managed effectively on site.
Sensible and effective management of health and safety relies on every member of the management team making sure risk is managed responsibly and proportionately. Good communication by all parties is critical to getting this right.
Where you have employee health and safety representatives or a safety committee they can play a valuable role in contributing to the development of a positive health and safety culture.
Head teachers and the school management team/ manager have considerable autonomy in the day-to-day running of their schools. It is important that head teachers exercise this autonomy in line with their employer’s policies, procedures and standards.
What you need to do
Ensure that the school is following the employer’s health and safety policy and has effective arrangements for managing the real health and safety risks at the school.
Maintain effective communications with employers, governors, and the school workforce, and give clear information to pupils and visitors, including contractors, regarding the significant risks on site.
Make sure that the staff have the appropriate training and competencies to deal with risks in their areas of responsibility.
Consult and work with recognised TU safety representatives/employee representatives and safety committees.
Make sure that staff understand their responsibilities and know how to access support and advice to help them manage risks responsibly.
Getting health and safety leadership right is about managing risk sensibly – not trying to eliminate it altogether. Head teachers should provide visible leadership to the whole school so that staff feel motivated, supported and empowered to focus on the things that really matter.