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Health and safety

Trust-wide policy. Adopted: Spring 2015

Statement of intent

The health and safety of our employees, students and anyone else that may be affected by what the Trust does, is of primary importance. Effective health and safety management is an integral part of efforts to achieve the Trust’s vision.

The Trust’s main objective is to minimise accidents and ill health by identifying all significant risks and eliminating or reducing them to the lowest level reasonably practicable.

The Trust is committed to continual improvement and will set annual targets. The Trust is also committed to meeting or exceeding the requirements of applicable occupational health and safety legislation and other requirements through its policies and procedures.

To ensure the Trust meets its commitments, it undertakes to monitor and review health and safety performance and take action where necessary.

The Trust will ensure there are sufficient resources and arrangements to achieve and maintain appropriate levels of risk control, communication and competence.

Everyone has responsibilities for health and safety. In particular, teachers, support and central services staff are responsible for the health and safety of people in Trust establishments.

This policy will be reviewed at least annually.

The Trust Board is ultimately responsible for health and safety across the Trust and will, with senior management, work to ensure that this policy is implemented throughout Inspiration Trust.

Responsibilities and organisation

Introduction

To comply with the Inspiration Trust’s (The Trust’s) statement of intent the following responsibilities have been assigned:

The board of directors of the Trust

The board of directors of the Trust is responsible for overseeing the management and administration of the Trust. In particular they will ensure that:

  • The Trust pursues its health and safety objectives in keeping with its strategic directions and that all statutory and other requirements are met.
  • Sufficient resources are made available to effectively control the risks arising as a result of the Trust’s operations.
  • They implement a health and safety management system.
  • Local responsibilities for health, safety and welfare are allocated to specific people and those people are informed of their responsibilities.
  • People have the skills and knowledge to perform the tasks required of them.
  • Clear procedures are created which assess the risk from hazards and produce safe systems of work.
  • Health and safety performance is measured and that they act on information provided to them on health and safety performance.
  • A trustee participates in serious accident investigations.

Local governing body

Members of the local governing body are responsible for ensuring that any health and safety issues of which they become aware are reported to the Principal/board of directors of the Trust.

Head of operations

The head of operations has the following responsibilities:

  • To monitor the implementation of the health and safety policy to ensure that all parties carry out their responsibilities.
  • To arrange for periodic health and safety compliance audits to be carried out and that action plans arising from the audits are owned by the establishments.
  • To report on the progress of establishments delivering against their action plans to the board of directors of the Trust.

Principals and Central Services senior managers

Principals and Central Services senior managers have the following responsibilities:

  • To ensure that the Trust’s health and safety policy is effectively communicated and implemented.
  • To ensure that all staff and others are provided with adequate information, instruction and training on health and safety matters.
  • To ensure that appropriate consultation arrangements are in place for staff and their Trades Union representatives.
  • To arrange for risk assessments of the premises, including fire risk assessment, and of activities undertaken by staff and students and that appropriate information on significant risks is provided to staff and others.
  • To ensure safe systems of work are in place as identified from risk assessments.
  • To respond to any action plans arising from audits and inspections of their school/office within agreed timescales and to report to the head of operations twice a year on the health and safety performance of the establishment.
  • To ensure that the premises are inspected and maintained and that equipment is inspected, tested and maintained so that they remain in a safe condition.
  • To ensure appropriate records are kept.
  • Ensure that all accidents and incidents are reported internally and to the enforcement authorities where required and that accidents and incidents are investigated and suitable remedial actions taken.
  • To ensure that suitable emergency procedures are in place.

Facilities manager, business manager or site manager

The facilities manager, business manager or site manager has the following responsibilities:

  • To coordinate the annual risk assessment process for the establishment and maintain a register of health and safety risk assessments.
  • To coordinate performance monitoring processes.
  • To make provision for all statutory inspections and maintenance.
  • To manage the keeping of records of all health and safety activities including maintenance of the building fabric and services.
  • To advise the Principal or senior manager on site of situations or activities which are potentially hazardous to the health and safety of staff, students and visitors.
  • To ensure that staff are adequately instructed in safety and welfare matters about their specific work place and the establishment generally.

Teaching, support and central services staff holding positions of special responsibility

This includes deputy/assistant principals, curriculum coordinators, heads of department, curriculum leaders, technicians and caretakers. They have the following responsibilities:

  • Apply the Trust’s Health and Safety Policy to their own department or area of work and be directly responsible to the Principal or senior manager on site for the application of the health and safety procedures and arrangements.
  • Carry out and document health and safety risk assessments for the activities they organise.
  • Ensure that all staff they manage are familiar with the health and safety policy and safe systems of work in their area.
  • Resolve health, safety and welfare problems members of staff refer to them, or refer to the Principal or line manager on site any problems to which they cannot achieve a satisfactory solution with the resources available to them.
  • Carry out regular inspections of their areas of responsibility to ensure that furniture and activities are safe.
  • Ensure any equipment used in their department is safe and is regularly maintained and keep appropriate records.
  • Ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the provision of sufficient information, instruction, training and supervision to enable other employees and students to avoid hazards and contribute positively to their own health and safety.
  • Participate in investigations into accidents that occur within their area of responsibility.
  • Prepare an annual report for the Principal or senior manager on site on the health and safety performance of their department or area of responsibility.

Class teachers

Class teachers are expected to:

  • Exercise effective supervision of their students, to know the procedures for fire, first aid and other emergencies and to carry them out.
  • Follow the health and safety measures documented for their teaching areas.
  • Give clear oral and written instructions and warnings to students when necessary.
  • Participate in the risk assessment process and follow safe working practices to include ensuring personal protective equipment is worn when prescribed in the risk assessment.
  • Make recommendations to their Principal or head of department on health and safety equipment and on additions or necessary improvements to plant, tools, equipment or machinery.
  • Integrate all relevant aspects of safety into the teaching process.
  • Report all accidents, defects and dangerous occurrences to their head of department.

Health and safety representatives

The Trust recognises the role of health and safety representatives appointed by recognised Trade Unions. Health and safety representatives will be allowed to participate in incident investigations, pursue employee complaints and carry out school inspections within directed time but, wherever practicable, outside teaching time. They will also be consulted on health and safety matters affecting all staff.

They are also entitled to certain information, e.g. about incidents and to paid time off to train for and carry out their health and safety functions. However, they are not part of the management structure and do not carry out duties on behalf of the Principal or the board of Trust directors.

All employees

All employees have legal responsibilities to take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves and for others who may be affected by their acts or omissions.

Employees must:

  • Comply with the Trust’s health and safety policy and procedures at all times – in particular procedures for fire, first aid and other emergencies and incident investigation.
  • Cooperate with school management in complying with relevant health and safety law.
  • Use all work equipment and substances in accordance with instruction, training and information received.
  • Report to their manager any hazardous situations and defects in equipment found in their work places.
  • Report all incidents in line with the incident reporting procedure.
  • Act in accordance with any specific health and safety training received.
  • Inform their manager of what they consider to be shortcomings in health and safety arrangements.
  • Exercise good standards of housekeeping and cleanliness.
  • Co-operate with appointed Union health and safety representative(s).

Students

Students, allowing for their age and aptitude, are expected to:

  • Exercise personal responsibility for the health and safety of themselves and others.
  • Observe standards of dress consistent with safety and/or hygiene.
  • Observe all the health and safety rules of the school and in particular the instructions of staff given in an emergency.
  • Use and not wilfully misuse, neglect or interfere with things provided for their health and safety.
  • Treat premises with respect and avoid creating health and safety risks.

Procedures and arrangements

The following procedures and arrangements have been adopted to ensure compliance with the statement of intent of the board of directors of the Trust.

1. Health and safety management system

The Trust will develop and implement a health and safety management system based on the principles of “Plan, Do, Check, Act” described in the Health and Safety Executive’s publication Managing for health and safety (HSG65).

2. Risk assessment

Risk assessments will be undertaken to control risks in the workplace.

Risk assessments will be carried out for all areas where activities take place and for all activities where a risk of harm can be foreseen or where legislation imposes a requirement for risk assessment.

General risk assessments will be carried out using the “5 Steps” approach recommended by the Health and Safety Executive.

The five steps are: Identify the hazards, decide who might be harmed, evaluate the risks, record significant findings, and regularly review the assessment.

3. Fire safety

Fire risk assessments will be carried out for all premises occupied by the Trust. In schools this is the responsibility of the Principal. In other premises it is the responsibility of the senior manager on site.

The fire risk assessment will identify the fire hazards and the people at risk. Steps will be taken to remove or reduce the risks and emergency action plans will be developed.

Staff and their representatives will be advised of the risks that have been identified and be provided with information, fire safety instruction and training.

To assist staff in discharging their responsibilities the Trust will develop a fire safety management system.

4. Manual handling

Manual handling tasks will be avoided. Where they cannot be avoided staff will be trained and will use the equipment provided to help them lift and carry.

Where tasks are essential and cannot be done using lifting equipment or wheeled trollies/cages, a suitable and sufficient risk assessment will be conducted.

5. Computers and workstations

Display screen equipment comprises PCs, laptops, netbooks and tablets. Risk assessments will be carried out by staff that are “users” of display screen equipment as defined by the Regulations.

The Trust will ensure that information and training is provided to “users”, will provide eyesight tests on request and a contribution towards the cost of a spectacles if needed for such work.

6. Hazardous substances

The Trust will take steps to prevent staff and others from coming to harm from exposure to hazardous substances.

To do this activities will be identified that involve hazardous substances to establish what the health hazards are and steps taken to reduce harm occurring.

Wherever possible using hazardous substances will be avoided.

If the activity cannot be avoided a safer substance will be used or the substance used in a safer form.

The risk assessment process will be used to decide how to prevent harm to health by:

  • Providing control measures and making sure they are used.
  • Keeping all control measures in good working order.
  • Providing information, instruction and training for employees and others.
  • Providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases.
  • Providing personal protective equipment.
  • Planning for emergencies.

Where local exhaust ventilation has been installed it will be maintained and subject to statutory inspection.

7. Slips, trips and falls

Precautions, such as a regime of cleaning, will be put in place to prevent slips and trips on wet or contaminated floors. Precautions will be taken to ensure surfaces are kept safe during periods of ice or snow.

Premises will be suitably maintained and well lit to prevent slips and trips on loose floor coverings, trailing leads or other obstructions on the floor.

In areas of higher risk, such as food preparation, flooring will be provided that is suitable for the environment and staff will be provided with appropriate footwear.

8. Work at height

Work at height will be avoided and where it cannot be avoided the risks will be assessed, precautions taken and work will be properly planned and supervised.

Roof work - safe access will be provided and access will be restricted to competent staff to prevent falls from edges and openings.

Fragile surfaces – will be identified and avoided and where they cannot be avoided, access will be strictly controlled.

Ladders – where there is a requirement to use ladders staff will be trained and supervised and equipment inspected and maintained.

9. Movement of vehicles

To prevent vehicles coming into contact with people, damage to property or vehicles:

  • Traffic routes will be clearly signed and properly maintained.
  • Speed restrictions will be signed and introduced in areas where people may come into contact with vehicles.
  • People will be segregated by a physical barrier from vehicles where it is reasonably practicable to do so.
  • Crossing points for people will be clearly marked out.
  • Procedures for contractors, suppliers and other visitors will be documented and provided to them.

10. Driving for work

The Trust will develop a driving for work policy to include the use by staff of their own vehicles and their use of school vehicles such as minibuses.

Staff will be required to provide copies of driving licences and evidence of insurance showing use of their own vehicles for business use.

Evidence will be required from drivers of competence to drive minibuses and that they hold the requisite licence entitlements.

School vehicles will be checked on each occasion before use and serviced and maintained in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

11. Electricity

All contractors and subcontractors working on Trust premises must be members of an approved electrical body National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC) or similar.

All wiring will be tested and inspected by a NICEIC or National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers¹ (NAPIT) firm at intervals not exceeding 5 years, or such other periods as recommended for the environment in which the installation is located.

Portable appliance testing (PAT test) - The frequency of inspection and testing will depend upon the type of equipment and the environment it is used in. The Trust will follow the guidance on suggested frequencies of inspection and testing produced by the Health and Safety Executive in its publication Maintaining Portable Electric Equipment.

Staff and students will be trained to identify faulty or damaged equipment that will be taken out of use until it is repaired.

12. Plant and machinery

Plant and equipment will be properly selected and installed. 

It will be regularly inspected to ensure all safety features are in place and operational and maintained to protect the health and safety of users and others who may be affected by the way it is used.

The risks to users will be assessed and manufacturer's recommendations for use and maintenance will be followed.

All users must demonstrate that they are trained and competent before they use equipment.

New work equipment must comply with the relevant European Community requirements for safe design and construction.

13. Lifting equipment

The Trust will ensure that all lifting equipment used is fit for purpose, appropriate for the task, suitably marked and subject to statutory periodic thorough examination. Records will be kept of all thorough examinations.

14. Workplace

The Trust will ensure that it complies fully with the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, in particular in relation to:

  • Cleanliness and waste disposal
  • General condition of premises and maintenance
  • Glazing
  • Heating, ventilation and temperature
  • Lighting
  • Space
  • Traffic routes

15. Confined spaces

Entry into confined spaces will be avoided wherever possible. If entry into a confined space is unavoidable a safe system of work will be followed and adequate emergency arrangements put in place before the work starts.

A risk assessment will be carried out for any work in confined spaces taking into consideration the task, the working environment, working materials and tools, the suitability of those carrying out the task and arrangements for emergency rescue.

16. Violence to staff

The Trust will consider the risks to employees of violence, decide how significant these risks are and what to do to prevent or control the risks.

The Trust will provide clear policies in relation to harassment and violence, detailing its own responsibilities, as well as those of the staff, to raise awareness of related issues among staff and set standards for behaviour.

17. Child behaviour

The Trust will ensure that all its schools operate within the relevant statutory framework as regards the handling of students who present extreme behaviour which may impact on the wider school community.

18. Gas safety

The Trust will ensure that all gas appliances are maintained and inspected at least annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

The Trust will comply with The Institute of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) document UP11 Edition 2, Gas installations for educational establishments.

19. Pressure systems

The Trust will ensure that:

  • Safe and suitable equipment is installed and that modifications/repairs to any pressure systems are carried out by competent persons.
  • Suitable protective devices are fitted to pressure systems and ensure they function properly.
  • Pressure systems are properly maintained.
  • Where necessary appropriate training is given to anyone operating such equipment.
  • Such equipment is examined including production of a written scheme of examination to be used to carry out the statutory examination.
  • Choose a competent person to carry out the examination

20. Burns and scalds

Schools will assess the risks to vulnerable persons from burns and scalds and, where there is a risk, put precautions in place, such as insulation or thermostatic mixing valves.

21. Explosive atmospheres

Schools are expected to develop local rules to control the risks to staff, students, visitors and others who may be affected by the work activities of the school from dangerous substances which may cause fire and/or explosion and to ensure compliance with the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR).

The key requirements of the regulations are that:

  • Risks from dangerous substances are assessed and eliminated or reduced.
  • Places where explosive atmospheres may occur are classified into zones which are clearly marked out where required.
  • Equipment and procedures are provided to deal with accidents and emergencies.

22. Legionella

Schools will ensure that:

  • They have a risk assessment for water services and pools.
  • Any control measures or remedial action identified by the risk assessment have been implemented.
  • Planned maintenance of water services and pools is being carried out according to agreed schedules.
  • Water quality and temperatures are being monitored and remedial action taken when necessary.

23. Noise

Areas where noise is at a level where it may cause harm will be identified and subject to a noise assessment.

Actions will be taken to reduce levels to as low as is reasonably practicable.

Suitable arrangements will be put in place for the selection, provision and maintenance of personal protective equipment.

All persons exposed to noise will be provided with supervision, information, instruction, training and health surveillance.

24. Vibration

Schools will assess the risk to staff and students from hand-arm vibration and identify measures to eliminate or reduce risks.

It will ensure that any control measures to reduce vibration are properly applied and provide information, training and health surveillance.

25. Ionising radiation and radioactive substances

Regulations that govern the acquisition, use and disposal of the radioactive substances used in school science relate to:

  • Using ionising radiations safely
  • Environmental protection
  • Transporting radioactive substances safely and securely

CLEAPSS is an advisory service providing support in science and technology for schools.

CLEAPSS guidance document L93 Managing Ionising Radiations and Radioactive Substances in Schools and Colleges – January 2013 provides a reference for schools.
Trust schools are expected to buy into the CLEAPPS service and the audit service provided by Norfolk County Council for managing radioactive substances or demonstrate compliance with the Regulations in another way.

26. Non-ionising radiation

The regulations controlling the use of non-ionising radiation are the Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations 2010.

They require schools to protect the eyes and skin of staff and students from exposure to hazardous sources of artificial optical radiation (AOR). AOR includes light emitted from all artificial sources in all its forms such as ultraviolet, infrared and laser beams.

Schools will assess the risks to users and others of equipment emitting AOR to ensure adequate controls are in place. 

27. Asbestos

Schools and other buildings occupied by the Trust will comply with their duties to control asbestos by:

  • Establishing if asbestos is present by employing a specialist contractor.
  • Making a record of the location, type and condition of the asbestos.
  • Assessig the risk of anyone being exposed to the asbestos.
  • Preparing a plan on how to manage these risks.
  • Putting the plan into action, monitoring it and keeping it up to date.
  • Providing information to anyone who might work on or disturb the asbestos.
  • Only having asbestos removed by a licenced contractor.

28. Swimming pools

Schools with pools are required to follow guidance from the Health and Safety Executive Managing health and safety in swimming pools publication HSG179 and to develop a pool safety operating procedure.

Schools will ensure that there are enough lifeguards for the size of the pool and the activities taking place.

29. Food hygiene

Schools will ensure that food products are procured from reputable suppliers and are stored correctly.

Staff or contractors preparing food will be trained in food hygiene and steps will be taken to control any pests on site.

The Food Standards Agency has developed a food safety management pack, Safer Food, Better Business, to help organisations preparing and cooking food to comply with hygiene regulations.

Schools and their contractors are expected to use the Safer Food, Better Business pack or to implement another management system acceptable to the Trust.

30. School trips

Teachers and others organising school trips will consider and document the risks associated with any visits and ensure suitable arrangements exist to deal with medical and other emergencies when activities take place off site.

Trip organisers will ensure that suitable and sufficient insurance arrangements are in place.

Particular care will be taken when trips involve overnight accommodation or travel overseas and if necessary guidance should be sought from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on the advisability of travel abroad.

Where the trip involves organised activities that present a higher risk to students, copies of the organiser’s risk assessments, safe systems or work and public liability insurance will be obtained.

31. Working Time

The Working Time Regulations (1998) implement the European Working Time Directive into UK law. 

The Trust will comply fully with the Regulations.

32. Stress

To avoid the harmful effects of work-related stress the Trust will:

  • Regularly review workload, work patterns, and the work environment
  • Allow staff to have a say in the way work is done
  • Provide encouragement, sponsorship and resources
  • Resolve conflict and address unacceptable behaviour
  • Provide clarity about staff roles
  • Manage change effectively

33. Lone workers

The Trust will ensure that the risks to people working on their own are assessed and will ensure there are procedures in place to monitor lone workers.

Emergency arrangements in establishments will take into account the additional risks to people working alone.

34. Contractors

The Trust will restrict the employment of contractors and other service providers to those where there has been sufficient vetting of the contractor’s competence and safety management.

Schools will provide contractors with advice, assistance and information including site induction to enable them to undertake their work safely and ensure that work on site is properly managed and supervised.

35. Special groups

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 identifies three groups of individuals for whom special arrangements are required. These are new and expectant mothers, young people (people under 18 years of age) and people with a disability.

An individual risk assessment will be carried out and documented for anyone in these groups working at the Trusts premises and measures implemented to protect them from harm.

Arrangements for evacuation from Trust premises will take into account the needs of special groups.

36. Communication and consultation

The Trust recognises the importance of good health and safety communication in implementing its health and safety policy.

The Trust will ensure effective communication with staff and others and the methods used will include briefings via existing networks such as team meetings, email, notice boards, leaflets and individual memos or letters.

37. Training

To develop a positive health and safety culture and to meet its legal duty to protect the health and safety of staff and others the Trust will plan, develop and deliver a training programme and has identified the following groups as having particular training needs:

  • New recruits who will need basic induction training into how to work safely, including arrangements for first aid, fire and evacuation.
  • People changing jobs or taking on extra responsibilities that need to know about any new health and safety implications.
  • People working in areas identified as higher risk.

Principals and line managers are responsible for ensuring that records of training given are kept.

38. Competent advice

The Trust will appoint someone competent to help it meet its health and safety duties.

39. Accident incident reporting and investigation

All accidents, incidents and cases of work-related ill health involving staff or others will be recorded to meet statutory requirements and to assist the Trust in monitoring the effectiveness of the measures it has put in place to control risks.

Serious accidents, being any accident or incident requiring reporting under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, will be investigated and the findings acted upon to prevent a recurrence.

Investigations into a serious injury, as defined by the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, or a death will involve the Principal, the relevant local manager, head of facilities and a health and safety representative.

40. First aid

Each school will carry out a first aid needs assessment to establish the level of first aid provision required.

Schools will organise training for first aiders and ensure an effective means of summoning first aid and for calling the emergency services.

41. Administration of medication

A Trust-wide policy on the administration of medication will be developed and procedures will be put in place to manage the storage, administration and disposal of medication including the need for medication to be stored in its original container and that it is clearly labelled.

Staff will be trained in relation to the administration of medication, its storage and disposal.