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Safer Schools Bulletin April 2016

Policy update

Updates in the South Tyneside Council - Health and Safety Manual which link into your school's Health and Safety Policy should be relayed to your staff:

3.11: Violence at Work

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines violence as 'any incident in which an employee is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances arising out of or during the course of their employment' - new definitions in the policy help you to decide what and how to report.

3.15: Accident Reporting

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 place a statutory duty on all employers to notify the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of all relevant scheduled Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences at Work.

3.20: CDM

The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (CDM 2015) place legal obligations on everyone involved in the construction process - ensure you are up to date and understand your duties as Client.

3.22: Slips and Trips

Over a third of all major injuries reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) each year are caused as a result of a slip or trip at work. This makes slips, trips and falls, the single most common cause of injuries in workplaces.


The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (CDM 2015) - one year on

 CDM 2015 have been in place for a year, they were brought in to simplify the construction regulations, replace the role of CDMC with Principal Designers and define duties and responsibilities.

CDM 2015 applies to all building, demolition, repair and maintenance or refurbishment work. These regulations strengthen the client's duties, therefore, construction projects where the school is acting as the client, will be required to ensure suitable arrangements are in place for managing the project in order that health and safety is secured.

The client has overall responsibility for the successful management of the project and is supported by the principal designer and principal contractor in different phases of the project. For the successful delivery of a project, good working relationships between the duty holders are essential from the start.

It is difficult to comment on its impact within the construction sector and if one of the main aims (to reduce the amount of paperwork and red tape) has been met. Further information can be found STC: CDM Guidance Documents and HSE: CDM 2015 FAQs

Accidents and incidents

Contractor fined after worker injured in cable strike - 15 March 2016

A Helensburgh-based contracting company has been fined after a worker hit an underground cable and suffered burns to his hands and face whilst working on a primary school refurbishment project.

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard that on the 1 September 2011 the incident took place at a construction site at Heatheryknowe Primary School in East Kilbride. A worker for Stewart and Shields Limited was digging holes to erect a fence when he struck a 430v underground electric services cable causing minor flash burns to his hands and face.

The Health and Safety Executive investigated the incident and found that site reports containing information about 'buried services' were made available to the company but they had failed to provide this information to workers or clearly mark where the power lines were situated underground. They should also have also ensured that workers using digging devices were adequately trained.

Stewart and Shields Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 34(3) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and Section 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and were fined £7,500.

HSE Inspector Graeme McMinn said: "There is an obligation on contractors to ensure that workers are informed of the dangers from buried underground services, and the need to ensure those services are located, checked and clearly marked.

HSE: Contractor fined after worker injured in cable strike


Company fined for safety failings when dealing with asbestos at a school - 9 February 2016

An Oxford based company has been fined after disturbing asbestos insulation board (AIB) at a school.

Northampton Magistrates' Court heard how Amey Communities Limited (ACL) were contracted to carry out roof refurbishment at Lings Primary School, Hayeswood Road, Northampton. During the course of this refurbishment workers from ACL disturbed AIB in a small plant room.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the incident which occurred on 6 November 2014 found failings in ACL's project management arrangements. They failed to monitor and identify asbestos materials during this specific roof refurbishment work at the school and ensure key personnel had suitable asbestos awareness training.

Amey Community Limited, of Edmund Halley Road, Oxford, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,737.

HSE inspector Sam Russell said after the hearing: "The serious health risks of asbestos which is a class one carcinogen are well-known and publicised. Any maintenance or construction work undertaken in buildings built before 2000 must consider and manage the risk of possible asbestos containing materials. It is important this material is considered at every stage of a construction project and failure to do so places workers, buildings occupants and the public at risk to possible exposure to asbestos fibres."

HSE: Company fined for safety failings when dealing with asbestos at a school


Risk assessment review

If you are responsible for risk assessments in your School don't forget that they need reviewing regularly and updating if necessary.

Few workplaces stay the same. Sooner or later, you will bring in new equipment, substances and procedures that could lead to new hazards. So it makes sense to review what you are doing on an ongoing basis, look at your risk assessment again and ask yourself:

  • Have there been any significant changes?

  • Are there improvements you still need to make?

  • Have you or others spotted a problem?

  • Have you learnt anything from accidents or near misses?

Make sure your risk assessments stay up to date!


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.

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