What Risks are Present in Schools and Colleges?
Schools and colleges undertake a large number of activities in order to deliver the curriculum to their students. As well as the activities directly related to teaching/lecturering there are also a lot of support functions taking place. Generally, as the age of the students increases the level of health and safety risk associated with the activities also increases; so primary schools are usually, higher risk than nursery schools; secondaries higher risk than primaries etc. The lists below provide examples of the types of hazards which are encountered in each sector, those common to all sectors and those related to support activities.
Support Activity Hazards
- Fire Safety (including arson);
- Access and Egress;
- Electrical Safety - Fixed wiring & portable appliances;
- Water Hygiene;
- Hazardous substances - chemicals & biological (including first aid);
- Work at height;
- Manual Handling - objects and people;
- Lone working;
- Violence and aggression;
- Gas Safety;
- Building work;
- Maintenance and Repair;
- Traffic Management;
- Weather - including Temperature.
Common Activity Hazards
- Water safety - including swimming;
- Educational visits - including adventurous, residential, overseas, sports fixtures;
- General classroom teaching;
- Occupational stress;
- Break time.
Primary Sector Hazards
- Physical Education;
- School Plays.
Secondary & College Sector Hazards
- Design and Technology - wood, metal, heat processes, control systems/electronics, food technology & textiles;
- Science - chemistry, biology, physics (including radiation), prep-rooms;
- Physical Education - gymnastics, contact sports, trampolining, field events;
- Drama - including productions, set design, lighting etc.;
- Trade skills - building, plumbing & decorating;
- Engineering - including motor engineering;
- Hair and Beauty;
- Catering (teaching of).
The above lists are not exhaustive and do not identify the many hazards that may relate to the activity (e.g. D&T Wood would include the machinery specific hazards [cuts, abrasions, in-running nips, drawing-in, entanglement, puncture wounds & noise] and the respiratory & skin hazards associated with machining wood). Schools and colleges need to systematically identify the hazards within their operations, so that the risks can be assessed and suitable control measures introduced.