The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published new web resources designed to support school managers in adopting a sensible and proportionate approach to health and safety risks. The resources will also interest anyone who provides advice or direction to schools or education providers, including local authorities.
The guidance draws on the work of HSE’s Myth Busters Challenge Panel. Some of the Panel’s cases raised concerns about over-protective approaches to health and safety in school activities. School managers themselves called for more support in developing rational approaches to risk management – particularly when dealing with risks to children.
HSE has used the experience of people working in education, so the guidance addresses the issues faced by schools on a day-to-day basis – illustrating the balance between overly cautious risk aversion at one extreme and failing to manage the significant risks at the other. In summary the guidance aims to:
- clarify which activities are covered by health and safety law;
- expose common health and safety myths;
- identify the key health and safety roles in schools; and
- advise school managers on how to make sensible and proportionate arrangements for health and safety.
The guidance tackles activities in the classroom and at school premises, and extends to the challenges and benefits presented by school trips and other outdoor learning activities – with links to case studies on sensible risk management outside the classroom
HSE hopes the new resources will help schools to strike a balance and prioritise and target the real risks while enabling pupils to experience learning opportunities to the full.