1.1 The purpose of this document is to attempt to clarify the health and safety law which applies within Education. This document has been produced for information purposes only and does not require any action by headteachers or other managers.
2.0 HEALTH AND SAFETY LEGISLATION
2.1 Health and safety responsibilities and duties placed upon teachers and others in schools, colleges and other education establishments are derived from the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 (HSWA) and the Management of Health and Safety at work regulations 1999.
2.2 Pupils and visitors are also protected by the duties imposed by such legislation as they are affected by an employer’s undertaking or and / or are using school premises.
2.3 There are a number of other pieces of delegated legislation which exist and require an assessment of risk, adequate maintenance, provision of information, instruction and training etc. i.e. COSHH, DSE, manual handling etc. The Education Health and Safety manual provides advice and guidance in the interpretation of such legislation and outlines best practice.
2.4 Responsibility for health and safety lies with everyone ( LA, Governing body, head teacher and employees) , either as the employer of school staff or because they exercise control over the school premises (or both).
2.5 The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for enforcing health and safety legislation in respect of schools.
2.6 Most of the duties placed upon employers and others are qualified by the phrase 'so far as is reasonably practicable'. This is essentially a balance between the costs ( in terms of money, time, trouble etc. ) against the degree of risk to people involved.
2.7 Where the risk is great, even expensive measures to prevent the risk could be considered necessary. Each case must be taken on its own merits.
3.0 THE HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK ACT
3.1 The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA) is the primary piece of health and safety legislation in the UK.The full text of the Act can be downloaded free of charge from the HSE’s website. http://www.hse.gov.uk/legislation/hswa.pdf
3.2 The general objectives of the HSWA are that employers should secure the health, safety and welfare of all persons at work and protect others from the risks arising from workplace activities.
This includes providing:-
A safe working environment with welfare facilities.
A safe place of work with safe access and egress.
The necessary training, information, instruction and supervision.
Safe plant and systems of work.
Safe handling, storage and maintenance of articles and substances.
3.3 Employees also have duties to take reasonable care of themselves and others and to co-operate with the employer in complying with their statutory duties.
4.0 mangement of health and safety at work regulations 1999
4.1 These regulations require employers to have systems in place for the management of health and safety and the assessment of risk and to:-
Appoint competent persons.
Establish procedures for serious and imminent danger.
Provide information to employees.
Co-operate and coordinate with other employers.
Provide health surveillance (where required).
5.0 OTHER RELEVANT GUIDANCE
5.1 HSE guidance notes and Approved codes of Practice Whilst non compliance with these does not constitute a breach of law, the fact that these were not followed could be accepted as evidence of a failure to do all that was reasonably practicable.
5.2 British Standards These have no legal status but can be interpreted by the courts as being authoritative guidance on a particular matter. Once again in the event of an accident / incident the fact that these were not followed could be accepted as evidence of a failure to do all that was reasonably practicable. 6.0 Occupiers Liability Act
6.1 Under this act, the occupier of any premises has