Intelligent Operations

Sarah Dennis: Sharing health and safety information with your team

There are many essential pieces of information which staff must know to work safely to protect themselves, colleagues and pupils.

Making staff aware of health and safety issues can be a chore. Many people can’t spare the time to read safety information in their normal busy day and spare time can be scarce. There are many essential pieces of information which staff must know to work safely to protect themselves, colleagues and pupils.

Placing posters – safety posters can be an excellent tool for emphasizing key safety messages. Placement is vital. Most staff do not have time to stand around, but short messages can be displayed in key places of high traffic areas like bathrooms, breakrooms and near entrances or exit to staff areas. 

  • Simple graphics and short text information placed behind a toilet door allows staff to see the information when they are less distracted. 
  • Another unique way to attract attention is to place all or part of a poster upside down as it may intrigue staff to stop and read the information. Remember to rotate and move information so it doesn’t fade into the background.

Staff briefings – it can be helpful to include a key safety message in regular team meetings or email communications and memos.

Induction – Health and Safety Induction is essential for each employee and it is important that staff have access to information to remind them of the health and safety requirements in the workplace. Providing a health and safety booklet or links to health and safety policies online, will mean your staff can review the information again and again.

Celebrate safety – there are many documented national and international safety and health awareness dates which could be recognised by your teams and pupils throughout the year, to keep health and safety at the forefront of minds. Some examples below;

  • World Safety and Health Day – 28th April 2022
  • Sun Awareness Week – 6th-13th May 2022
  • National Mental Health – 13th-20th May 2022
  • World Mental Health Day – 10th October 2022
  • Back Care Awareness Week – 5th-9th October 2022
  • National Stress Awareness Day – 4th November 2021

Risk Assessment

What is risk assessment?

Risk assessment is the process of evaluating risks to employees’ health and safety from workplace hazards. It is a systematic examination of all aspects of work that considers:

  • what could cause injury or harm;
  • whether the hazards could be eliminated and, if not;
  • what preventive or protective measures are, or should be, in place to control the risks.

Who should carry out risk assessments?

Anyone can carry out risk assessments if they have the knowledge to do so. It is often beneficial to attend a training session to ensure the risk assessment is being carried out correctly and that the risk rating is appropriate. 

How should risk assessment be carried out?

There are 5 steps to a risk assessment:

  1. Identify the hazards
  2. Decide who could be harmed and how
  3. Evaluate the risk and existing control measures
  4. Record findings
  5. Review

You should walk around the area you are risk assessing and speak to those in the area to help gain a clear picture of the hazards that may be present. 

What should I risk assess?

There should be a risk assessment in place for:

  • All general site areas e.g.
    • Corridors
    • Classrooms
    • Offices
    • Playground
    • School Hall
  • Site activities e.g.
    • School trips (see policy for additional information)
    • Premises officer duties
    • Working at height
    • Manual handling
    • Lone Working
  • Specific e.g.
    • Hazardous Substances (COSHH)
    • Workstation Assessment (DSE)
    • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER)
    • Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment (LOLER)
    • Stress
    • New/Expectant Mothers
    • Fire (Often carried out by H&S team)

When should a risk assessment be reviewed?

All risk assessments should be reviewed on an annual basis, or following any major changes, e.g.

  • where a significant change has been made to the building or process;
    • where there is reason to believe that the risk assessment is no longer valid;
    • following an investigation of an accident; and
    • where required as a result of an inspection or audit.

Are there resources available to help?

Yes, the Council has a Risk Assessment policy that can be found on Services for Schools that provides detailed information and offers examples. Templates can also be found under the H&S pages for subscribed schools.

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