Schools Health and Safety Guidance

Education Department Policy
Page No
Bracknell Forest Council, Children Young People & Learning Department
Commitment to Staff Health and Safety at Work
Appendix 1
Guidance notes on developing a school
Health and Safety Policy and Manual
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Education Department Policy
The Children Young People & Learning Department is committed to achieve the highest
standards of health, safety and welfare for all activities within its management control so that
employees, visitors, pupils and students and other service users, who may be directly affected
by the work of the Department are, so far as is reasonable practical, not exposed to hazards and
thereby protected from risk.
As an integral part of Bracknell Forest Council, the Children Young People & Learning
Department fully supports the statement of health and safety policy agreed by the Chief
Executive. The policy can be accessed at:
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Management Structure Format
The Head Teacher will need to prepare/arrange for the preparation of a description of how the
school is organised with regard to Health & Safety.
This is easily done by preparing, by job title, a series of statements describing who reports to
whom and for what. eg:
reports to
and line managers [department, or list of job titles etc].
In addition he/she is responsible for:
An outline management chart will help to make clear the structure of the system.
Basic Items
The Health and Safety Commission Education Service Advisory Committee lists the following
general matters affecting most schools [ESAC book 'The Responsibilities of School Governors
for Health and Safety'], see also 'Safety Policies in the Education Sector']. These could be
included as headings in the School Policy.
accident reporting and investigation - by whom and to whom
first aid provision
general fire safety
waste disposal - laboratory material [chemicals, broken glass etc and clinical waste
housekeeping [including cleaning] eg frequency, standards, checking arrangements
provision of advice and consultants' services - from whom and when
arrangements for safety representatives and safety committees
safety training - recognition of needs, arrangements for training and record-keeping
maintenance, both planned including any required, for example, by COSHH, the Electricity at
Work Regulations and the Ionising Radiation Regulations, plus these more specific matters
for consideration where appropriate;
dealing with asbestos sealing and removal playground safety
school trips
safety on school transport
contractors in schools [especially for construction work)
vehicle movement within school premises
local rules for departments, eg safe laboratory practice in the chemistry department
work experience arrangements
letting school premises to outside hirers
dealing with violence to staff in school.
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3 Starting points for developing a School Policy and Manual
The purpose is to develop a 'Health & Safety Manual’ to which all staff can refer for guidance or
information on where to find guidance [some items will be in other documents]. All staff need to
be issued with copies of 'basic' items plus particular items related to their job.
a) Always use a language style which is suitable for the easy understanding of all those
employed on your site.
b) It is advisable to use a very straightforward style whenever possible.
eg The first aid box is kept on the wall in the medical room. It is clearly marked with a green
label with a white cross. First aid box location signs are displayed throughout the
establishment. The welfare assistant checks the first aid box contents every day. If you
discover any contents to be missing, this must be reported to the welfare assistant at once.'
c) Be clear about what you wish/urge people to do ['should'] and what you require people to do
d) Describe who does what by job title - this avoids costly re-printing when staff change.
e) Be clear about what happens if key people are absent, this must be part of your
f) Always begin each new section on a new page [although two small sections could go on one
sheet] - overlapping makes amendments very expensive.
g) If you already have a procedure in place which works and is part of another document, then
cross reference it but ensure that at least three complete reference sets [Head Teacher
copy, office copy, staff reference copy] are maintained. Reference sets are useful for reviews
and inspections.
h) The Act requires that all staff have access to all policies, procedures etc., it is suggested that
staff are issued only with the sections which are relevant to them. This usually means that all
staff receive a basic set plus relevant specialist items and have access to one of the
reference sets.
i) Wherever possible, include the expected level of performance eg ‘X will be checked every
week' or ‘the consultative group will meet every month'.
4 Status Review - Some starting points
Should you wish to review the school’s current Health and Safety Policy and Manual, the
following questions may be useful.
a) Organisation
i) Is there a written description of who is responsible for what and who they report to?
ii) Does the reporting system match as closely as possible the existing management structure
of the establishment? [This avoids confusion when queries have to be explored.]
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iii) Is it arranged by job title rather than name to include all employees either by post or group?
[eg "caretaker" or "staff of the D&T Dept"].
iv) Is an organisational chart supported by a paragraph about each post/group available for
b) Arrangements
Is there a written description of the arrangements in place?
[eg risk assessment, first aid provision]
ii) Is it suitably indexed and cross referenced with other establishment procedures?
[eg arrangements for organising an off site activity].
iii) Is the material written in a clear, matter of fact style designed to be understood by all?
[avoiding unnecessary technical terms and legalistic jargon
iv) Does it clearly reflect LEA requirements and the needs of the school?
v) Do arrangements describe what is actually happening rather than what is wished for?
[if there is a difference, one or other must change in the direction of good practice].
vi) Do all staff have access to H&S Policies, Organisation, Arrangements items?
[Not all staff will need a copy of everything - every employee will need a basic set of
information about whole site arrangements, including emergency arrangements. These will
need to be given to everyone, including supply staff and visitors who will not be directly
supervised eg OFSTED Inspectors].
c) Co-ordination
Is one person nominated to co-ordinate the management of Health & Safety?
[This person will not be the only person involved in managing H&S because ail managers
must be involved in H&S management as part of their normal duties.]
NB All arrangements, work systems etc, must be subject to the overall approval and/or
direction of the Head of establishment.
Does the H&S Co-ordinator have time allocated for the work
iii) Is the co-ordinator a senior member of staff, or does he/she have access to staff at the
senior management level?
iv) Is the co-ordinator competent to discharge his/her functions?
[This means competent to carry out a senior role within the school organisation, including leadership and communication with all staff.] Competence includes capabilities, knowledge, qualifications, experience, training, attitude, maturity, and other relevant attributes
NB It is not recommended H&S Co-ordinators also act as TU Safety Representatives - such
an arrangement risks role confusion.
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d) Information System
i) Does a system exist that will receive information from the LEA or from establishment
decision-making, and distribute it to relevant people in a way which can be tracked? eg
Receipt logging of documentation from the LEA
Passing of documents to the H&S Co-ordinator
Receipt of information from establishment decision making
Consultation and consideration by and with relevant people [including TU safety reps.]
Appropriate modification of working practices
Communication with all those affected
Recording in school H&S Handbook.
e) Consultation
i) Are there clear arrangements for consulting any Trade Union appointed Safety
ii) Is there a site safety committee or group, or alternatively in smaller schools, a regular item
on staff meeting agendas?
[Whatever arrangements are mode, it is important to consult with all employees or their
representatives - not just teachers].
iii) Are minutes of all meetings kept?
NB It is important that Health & Safety issues ore also discussed in the context of overall
establishment management - not just in "consultation" sessions.
i) Are there adequate records kept? A record keeping system will be needed, but most of this
will probably be in place already.
Examples of items which need recording are: 
Risk Assessments
Hazardous substances
COSHH assessments
Electrical equipment
Portable [electrical] Appliance Testing records 
Other equipment
Maintenance records
Fire apparatus details and checks 
Training, qualifications, certification g) Performance measurement/monitoring
i) Is there an annual plan to programme H&S activities on a risk assessed priority basis?
[subject always to unpredicted events and incidents]
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ii) Are there pro-active systems setting targets that con be measured to check compliance
with health and safety arrangements?
[This will help advise how well objectives are being met.]
iii) Are re-active records kept of accidents, incidents, communicable diseases, assaults,
incidents related to personal safety etc.?
[This also will help advise how well objectives are being met.]
iv) Is there an establishment inspection system? eg
 Checks before use for certain equipment eg trampolines
 Daily checks eg pools or playground apparatus
 Weekly checks eg fire alarms
 Other inspections and checks done according to a planned timetable
 A complete inspection of establishment provision accomplished to an agreed format
within the timescale set by the LEA if applicable] or termly/six monthly.
h) Review
i) Is there an annual review of Health & Safety provision?
[(a) by senior management (b) by the Governing Body.]
j) Audit
i) From time to time the establishment system will need auditing. This can be achieved partly
by use of the regular inspection system but this cannot replace the effectiveness of an
audit carried out by someone independent of the establishment, eg an LEA Safety Advisor.
ii) Information gathered via audits and other activities will assist in the performance of
periodic status reviews on behalf of the establishment and/or the LEA.
k) The Management Plan
i) Your first plan will identify gaps in your system and set out how you will programme action
to address them on a risk assessed basis over a set period - say one year.
At the end of year 1, you can then review progress [status review] and build a new
management plan.
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