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Safer Schools Bulletin January 2019

South Tyneside Council Health and Safety Manual updates

3.13 Managing Stress at Work

The Council, as an employer, places a high value on maintaining a healthy workforce and ensuring a safe working environment for all of its employees. The Council also recognises that this duty of care extends to mental health as well as physical health at work.

3.19 Contractor Compliance

All contractors carrying out work or providing a service on behalf of the Council are obliged to comply at all times with the requirements of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and all other relevant Acts, Orders, Regulations, Approved Codes of Practice and Guidance.

Contractors must comply with and ensure that any sub-contractor complies with the provisions of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, Orders, Regulations, Approved Codes of Practice and Guidance pertaining to Health & Safety.

The Council will set standards through procurement procedures to monitor the competency of contractors in order to minimise the risk to employees, other persons on site and to the public.

Appendix E DSE Assessment

The checklist can be used as an aid to risk assessment and to help comply with the schedule to the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations.

Please see the updated Health and Safety Manual which connects into your school's Health and Safety Policy - where applicable these updates should be relayed to your staff.

Department for Education Health and Safety updates

Health and safety: responsibilities and duties for schools (November 2018)

Pupils should be safe in school and when undertaking out of school activities. The risk management to keep them safe should be proportionate to the nature of the activities.

The employer or, in the case of independent schools, the proprietor, is accountable for the health and safety of school staff and pupils. The day-to-day running of the school is usually delegated to the head teacher and the school management team. In most cases, they are responsible for ensuring that risks are managed effectively. This includes health and safety matters.

Schools must appoint a competent person to ensure they meet their health and safety duties. A competent person is someone with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to give sensible guidance about managing the health and safety risks at the school.

This can be someone appointed directly by the school, one or more of its staff, or the employer can arrange support from outside the school.

For full information please see: GOV.UK: Health and safety advice for schools


School pupil death: 'Missed opportunities' led to fatal minibus incident (November 2018):

Bridgend County Borough Council has been fined following the death of one pupil and injury to another after they were involved in a collision with the school minibus.

Following its investigation into the death of 15-year-old Ashley Talbot, the HSE has urged schools to review traffic arrangements within their grounds, and where possible design layouts so pupils are separated from moving traffic.

Cardiff Crown Court was told how, on 10 December 2014, Ashley was crossing the road in the grounds of Maesteg Comprehensive School to board his bus home when the collision took place. Ashley was pronounced dead at the scene. Another pupil was also injured.

The HSE found the layby created before the school opened in September 2008 was never large enough to accommodate all school buses at home time. This had been identified by council officers, but Bridgend Council made no plans to enlarge the layby so that pupils could board safely from the pavement.

For three years before the collision, some school buses had been parking on the other side of the road, which had no pavement, leaving children to board in the middle of the road while other vehicles were able to travel in both directions between the waiting buses.

South Wales Police investigated the circumstances of the collision and no charges were brought against the driver of the minibus.

In the days following the accident the HSE took enforcement action against Bridgend Council.  This prohibited children from boarding school buses from the road, and required the Council to modify the bus layby to make it big enough for all children to board their bus from the pavement.  This was completed by the Council within a few weeks.

Bridgend County Borough Council of Civic Offices, Angel Street, Bridgend pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £29,228.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Helen Turner said: "Firstly, we send our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Ashley Talbot, whose life was tragically ended at just 15. We believe Ashley's death could have been prevented, and a series of missed opportunities meant this incident was waiting to happen. Although there had been previous near misses at Maesteg, there was no system for these to be reported and discussed. There are some clear lessons to be learned, particularly for other modern school sites.

The need for children to cross the road to board their bus could have been taken away with proper planning and design, which should always seek to keep vehicles and pedestrians apart. HSE's guidance clearly states that transport safety at every workplace should start with the creation of a 'safe site.'

"Planning and parking should take into account 'desire lines', which are the routes most people will choose to take. Children may not be risk aware, there will be a rush of children all leaving school at once, and they will race for the back seat. This predictable behaviour makes it all the more important that transport risk is properly managed, and regularly reviewed.

At HSE we stand by the principle of PLAN, DO, CHECK, ACT. This management approach is as pertinent for school grounds as it is any other workplace.

We hope this prosecution will serve as a reminder to those with a responsibility of care to address transport risk in schools and actively monitor that their arrangements are effective to keep children safe."

For more information visit: SHP: School pupil death 'missed opportunities' led to fatal accident

Schools need to assess the risk from vehicle movements on their premises and manage those risks in line with current workplace transport guidance e.g. segregation, marking and lighting.

Schools should consider in their risk assessment vehicle movements occurring immediately outside the school premises which may be associated with school activities, such as staff arriving and leaving work, school buses delivering pupils, delivery vehicles. Risk assessment templates are available from the Health and Safety Team.

Further information can be found HSE - Site Layout and HSE Workplace Transport

Healthier Times (December 2018)

The second issue of Healthier Times with a host of articles from different teams working towards improving the health and wellbeing of people in South Tyneside is now available.

News in Schools

Nurturing the transition:

Jarrow school has trialled a new nurture programme this year to help children who have experienced significant trauma to transition from primary to secondary school.

Fourteen students were identified and a teacher from Jarrow school began working with them in May to minimise anxiety relating to the transition to secondary school. Work continued at home throughout the summer holidays.

Part of the process ,which continued into secondary school ,is the use of a nurture form. This uses 'theraplay', meditation and mindfulness to help the students to 'self regulate' and become settled to learn.

It also allows the teacher to help the student prepare for each school day. The teacher has regular check-ins with both students and parents to create a positive home/school relationship. Early impressions show that that this has been a successful intervention, with the students demonstrating a decrease in negative behaviour in comparison to primary school.


St. Mary's in Jarrow are flying the flag for Public Health, they are part of the Healthy Schools and Better Health at Work Awards, as well as having the Gold School Games Award. On top of this they are also a Dementia Friendly School! Well done St. Mary's!

To access a full range of services and information on how the Public Health Team can help you please telephone 0191 424 7300

Managing stress at work

The Council, as an employer, places a high value on maintaining a healthy workforce and ensuring a safe working environment for all of its employees. The Council also recognises that this duty of care extends to mental health as well as physical health at work.

Mental health problems have many causes, including stresses in the workplace and in the life of employees away from work. A controllable level of pressure can in some cases lead to improved motivation, job satisfaction and performance, but in contrast, excessive pressure can become harmful and result in stress.

The Council is committed to identifying sources of stress in the workplace and taking action to reduce harmful stress and secure the health of the workforce.

For further information please see Stress  and Mental health and wellbeing

Help and feedback

If you have any questions about the issues raised or if we can help in any other way, please do not hesitate to contact the Health and Safety Team.

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

Tel: 0191 424 6186


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