The HSE is concerned about work-related stress, as indeed many organisations are. Managing work -related stress makes good sense and applies to businesses of all types and sizes.

The HSE advises that organisations can get involved in various ways, whether they simply want to run a poster awareness campaign, hold a more substantial event or perhaps enter the campaign Good Practice awards (UK entries to the European Good Practice Awards close on 6 October 2014). A school or academy (like any other organisation) can also incorporate the themes into existing activities.

You can access Handsam’s guidance on managing stress by going to the guidance task of the Staff Welfare Category in the Handsam Health and Safety System. Further information can be gained from the HSE’s work related stress pages where you can find the Stress Management Standards, case studies and a range of other resources.

If you need any further assistance then please do contact us at Handsam on 0844 335 737 or info@handsam.co.uk.

It is unlikely that a school will be involved in the more extremes of fire hazards, but the following cases will be of interest to remind schools and academies of the risks that all flammable materials pose.

Dangerous substances are any substances used or present at work that could, if not properly controlled, cause harm to people as a result of a fire, explosion or similar incident, such as an uncontrolled chemical reaction. They can be found in nearly all workplaces and include solvents, paints, varnishes, flammable gases, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), dusts from machining and sanding operations and dusts from foodstuffs.

Recent prosecutions (February 2014) confirm that these risks are real:

  • A company was fined £5,000 following a factory blaze involving the use of solvents which destroyed the entire factory. 21 fire engines were required to tackle the blaze. An employee sustained burns to his neck and hands and has been unable to return to work.
  • A welder was seriously burned during unsafe hot-work. Acetone ignited as he used it to quench a hot work piece, spilling onto and through his trousers. The company was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £4,500 in costs.
  • A worker lost both his legs after a factory explosion. The company was fined £30,000 and £15,000 in costs.

Apart from the general requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the main legislation which applies to the use of flammable and explosive substances in the workplace is the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 – known as DSEAR.

DSEAR places duties on employers to protect people from fires, explosions and similar events in the workplace.

What should schools do?
You need to assess the risk of dangerous substances at your workplace and introduce control measures. DSEAR requires a hierarchical approach for the elimination or reduction of the associated risks.

Handsam advises that organisations should prioritise control measures as follows:

  • Reduce the quantity of dangerous substances to a minimum
  • Avoid or minimise releases of dangerous substances
  • Control releases of dangerous substances at source
  • Prevent the formation of an explosive atmosphere, including by ventilation
  • Collect, contain and remove any releases to a safe place
  • Avoid ignition sources
  • Avoid adverse conditions (such as exceeding pressure/temperature limits) that could lead to danger
  • Keep incompatible substances apart.

For guidance and assistance in managing dangerous substances go to the guidance task in the Dangerous Substances Category of the Handsam Health and Safety Management System. If you need any further assistance then please do contact us at Handsam on 0844 335 737 or info@handsam.co.uk.

The DfE has published the statutory guidance “Supporting Pupils at School with Medical Conditions”. This relates to the new duty on governing bodies of maintained schools, proprietors of academies and management committees of PRUs to make arrangements for supporting pupils at their school with medical conditions. The duty is set out in Section 100 of the Children and Families Act 2014 and it came into force on 1 September 2014. In meeting the duty, the governing body, proprietor or management committee must have regard to the guidance which means they must take account of it and carefully consider it. Having done so, there would need to be a good reason to justify not complying with it.

The guidance sets out three key principles:

1) Pupils at school with medical conditions should be properly supported so that they have full access to education, including school trips and physical education.

2) Governing bodies must ensure that arrangements are in place in schools to support pupils at school with medical conditions.

3) Finally, they should ensure that school leaders consult health and social care professionals, pupils and parents to ensure that the needs of children with medical conditions are effectively supported.

The guidance covers roles and responsibilities, developing and maintaining a school policy, individual health care plans, managing medicines, procedures including emergency procedures, day trips, residential trips and school sport, staff training and support, liability and indemnity. There are examples of unacceptable practice in the guidance.

Schools should not:

  • prevent children from easily accessing their inhalers and medication and administering their medication when and where necessary;
  • assume that every child with the same condition requires the same treatment;
  • ignore the child’s views or their parents; or ignore medical evidence or opinion (although this may be challenged);
  • send children with medical conditions home frequently or prevent them from staying for normal school activities, including lunch, unless this is specified in their individual healthcare plans;
  • if the child becomes ill, send them to the school office or medical room unaccompanied or with someone unsuitable;
  • penalise children for their attendance record if they are absent on account of their medical condition, e.g. hospital appointments;
  • prevent pupils from drinking, eating or taking toilet or other breaks needed to manage their medical condition effectively;
  • require parents, or otherwise make them feel obliged, to attend school to administer medication or provide medical support to their child, including toileting issues, no parent should have to give up working because the school is failing to support their child’s medical needs; or
  • prevent children from participating, or create unnecessary barriers to children participating in any aspect of school life, including school trips, e.g. by requiring parents to accompany the child.

The guidance and an accompanying set of specimen templates are on the DfE website:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-pupils-at-school-with-medical-conditions–3

For further guidance go to the guidance task in the Medicines Category in the Secondary Task List and the First Aid and Other Medical Issues Category in the Primary Task List on the Handsam Health and Safety Management System.

In addition to this guidance on a range of medical issues can be found in the Administration of Medicines Category of the Handsam Quick Guide Library.

If you need any further assistance then please do contact us at Handsam on 0844 335 737 or info@handsam.co.uk