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Safer School Bulletin January 2016

Policy update

Accident and violence forms

The AR1 and V1 have merged into one form with additional questions to make it easier to complete all sections.  Furthermore, the AR2 and AR3 forms have also merged.  The new forms will be available on the Intranet with further guidance available.  The forms will also be available online if you prefer to complete a digital AR1/V1, AR2/3.

However, the incidents will continue to be reported as they are now, so there is nothing drastically changing.

J. Accident/Incident Reports 2015219.13KB

Accidents / incidents advice

School in court over science experiment injury - 11 January 2016

A chemistry laboratory technician lost parts of three fingers and sustained a serious internal injury while preparing a highly sensitive explosive for use in a 'fireworks' demonstration to a class of children.

Bristol Magistrates' Court heard the now retired staff member lost the top joints of his left hand index, middle and ring fingers and ruptured his bowel while preparing the explosive at Bristol Cathedral Choir School.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting told the court the laboratory technician spent 12 days in total in hospital after the October 2014 incident. Although he returned to work in February 2015, he has since retired.

It was revealed that the preparation of explosive substances had been carried out in the school several times a year since 2009. The mixture in question and other substances had been used in 'fireworks' demonstrations.

The court also heard that other explosive substances, namely flash powder and gunpowder, were stored in the school's chemistry storeroom.

HSE said the incident could have been avoided if the school had implemented clear management arrangements to control and review the risks posed by the chemicals used in its teaching activities.

Bristol Cathedral Choir School, of College Square, Bristol, admitted that it failed to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of its employees, in breach of its duty under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

It also admitted failing to conduct its undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in its employment, in this case its pupils, were not exposed to risks to their health and safety, in breach of its duty under Section 3 of the same act.

The school was fined a total of £26,000 [£8,000 for the section 2 offence and £18,000 for the section 3 offence] and ordered to pay £12,176 costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Susan Chivers said: "Schools need to have clear health and safety arrangements in place for their staff and students.

"They should set up adequate control systems and ensure that these arrangements are clearly understood and adhered to. They should also follow recognised guidance provided by CLEAPSS (formerly known as the Consortium of Local Education Authorities for the Provision of Science Services) and similar organisations regarding the control of risks to health and safety in practical science work."

To learn about good practice in education, please go to: HSE: Sensible leadership

Unlicensed company removes asbestos ceiling from school - 3 December 2015

A construction firm removed an asbestos ceiling in a school despite not being legally approved to do the work.

Luton Magistrates' Court heard that Clarks Construction Limited were contracted by the Board of Governors of Caddington Village School to refurbish changing rooms, toilets and associated areas at the school complex.

The school had arranged for a specific refurbishment survey to be carried out for the presence of asbestos. The survey identified the presence of asbestos in a ceiling of one of the rooms. Clarks Construction Limited removed the ceiling in August 2013 without consultation with the school or effective reference to the asbestos survey.

Clarks Construction Limited, of Windsor Street, Luton, was fined a total of £3,300, and ordered to pay £662 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of Regulation 8(1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 for carrying out the work which, given the inherent level of risk involved, requires a licensed contractor.

For more information about working with asbestos visit HSE: Asbestos licensing

Help and feedback

If you have any questions about the issues raised or if I can help in any other way, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I also welcome your feedback on this bulletin and any key topics you would like to see in the next edition.

Further information

HSE: School in court over science experiment injury

HSE: Sensible leadership

HSE: Unlicensed company removes asbestos ceiling from school

HSE: Asbestos licensing


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