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Safer Schools Bulletin April 2019

South Tyneside Council Health and Safety Manual updates:

1.0 Statement of Health and Safety Policy

South Tyneside Council statement of intent - signed and dated by the Chief Executive and Leader of the council.

3.17 Fire Evacuation

Heads of Service must ensure that for buildings for which they have a responsibility a suitable and sufficient Fire Risk Assessment has been undertaken by a competent person. This Risk Assessment will support evacuation issues. The document must be maintained in a retrievable format and made available to the Corporate Health and Safety Team and the Fire Authority on request. Arrangements must also be in place for ensuring that all new employees are instructed in fire and emergency procedures within their respective areas of operation.

Please see the updated Health and Safety Manual 2019 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:

Latest edition of the 'Health and safety: responsibilities and duties for schools' 26/11/2018 from the DfE

6. School security and emergency preparation

All schools should have plans in place to enable them to manage and respond to incidents related to school security. DfE is consulting on guidance to help schools with school security procedures

Schools should also have procedures for controlling access and barring individuals from premises.

DfE provides emergency and planning response templates and guidance.

Health and Safety Executive Updates:

HSE increases FFI charge by almost 20% (16/04/2019)

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has increased its fee for intervention (FFI) hourly rate from £129 to £154.

FFI was designed to recover costs incurred by the HSE during regulatory action against organisations that fail to comply with safety and health law, thus transferring the financial burden from the taxpayer to the business.

The new charge came into effect on 6 April and it is the second increase since the scheme was introduced in October 2012. The rate first went up in 2016, from £124. 

Under the scheme, the HSE only recovers costs of its regulatory work from non-compliant dutyholders found to be in material breach of safety and health law. 

A material breach is defined by the HSE as "something which an inspector considers serious enough that they need to formally write to the business requiring action to be taken".  

The fee covers an inspector's time spent identifying and resolving the issue, as well as any investigation or enforcement action up to the point where HSE's intervention has been concluded or a prosecution is started, or a report submitted to the Procurator Fiscal in Scotland. It is calculated by multiplying the time spent on FFI activity by the hourly rate. 

 Commenting on the increase in this month's health, safety and environmental newsletter, law firm Weightmans said: "This represents a substantial increase and invoices may amount to thousands of pounds so businesses in receipt of these invoices should check them closely and, if appropriate, challenge the charges by raising a 'query' within 21 days of the date on the invoice. 

IOSH Magazine: HSE increases FFI charge by almost 20

Bouncy castles: safety advice from the HSE

These simple precautions can help you avoid serious accidents, whether you supply bouncy castles and inflatables, or you are hiring one for your event.

If you're buying or hiring an inflatable for private or public use you should make sure it has either a numbered PIPA tag or an ADiPs declaration of compliance (DoC).

It should also have:

  • written documentation from a competent inspection body to show it complies with British Standard BS EN 14960
  • instructions on how to operate it safely

You can check that safety tests have been carried out and to find out what to do if the equipment has no tag on the PIPA website [1] or no DoC on the ADiPs website

Please ensure you buy or hire from a reputable company, have a risk assessment, insurance, safe and secure anchor points, an anemometer to measure the wind speed at regular intervals, adequate supervision, etc. Remember as Client it is your duty to ensure that these are in place!

More details can be found HSE bouncy castles safety advice and adips guide to bouncy castle and inflatable hire safety

Accident and incidents:

Construction companies ceiling tile oversight exposed workers to asbestos (11/01/2019)

"A principal contractor (PC) on a school refurb project and a construction firm appointed to carry out work on its behalf must pay fines totaling £112k after exposing workers for a subcontractor to asbestos fibers.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found PC Ashe Construction had appointed cladding installer Cladceil to carry out the refurbishment at Oakwood Junior School in Derby on 1 August 2016 during the school holidays. The Nottingham-based company had subcontracted the work to another company and its workers had been asked to remove suspended ceiling tiles from rooms in the school.

Unaware of the risk, two workers entered a storage room and started to remove ceiling tiles made of asbestos containing materials, potentially exposing themselves to the harmful fibers. A licensed asbestos removal company working on the site alerted management and the removal work was stopped to deal with the contamination. 

The HSE found Ashe Construction had failed to effectively plan, manage and monitor the work to prevent the accidental removal of the contaminated tiles. It had also failed to explain the location of the asbestos, leaving the storage room open without barriers or signs warning of the hazardous material. 

Cladceil also failed to effectively plan, manage and monitor the work. Although it had appointed a subcontractor, the cladding installer only provided the company with a generic risk assessment and method statement, which failed to identify important information, including the asbestos risk.

Hitchin-based Ashe Construction, pleaded guilty to breaching reg 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and s 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act at Derby Crown Court. The PC was fined £100,000 and must pay £9,760 costs.

Cladceil pleaded guilty to reg 15(2) of CDM 2015 and was fined £12,000 with £47,184 costs.

The HSE confirmed that the client did provide Ashe Construction with a survey report."

IOSH Magazine: Asbestos management failure

Company fined after scaffolding collapses at school (11/02/2019)

A scaffolding company has been fined after scaffolding it had erected collapsed onto a neighbouring primary school.

Cardiff Magistrates' Court heard Swain Scaffolding Limited had erected scaffolding 7m high and 8m long at the gable end of a residential property in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan. On 5 May 2017 at approximately 1.30pm, the scaffold collapsed landing on a single storey roof above playground of a neighbouring school.

At the time of the collapse, a group of nursery children were in the playground only a few metres away and minutes before the collapse the playground had been full of children playing after their lunch break.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the scaffolding was not designed or installed to withstand foreseeable loads. It was not tied to the adjacent building, nor did it have adequate buttressing or rakers and was essentially a freestanding structure. The investigation found that it was almost inevitable that the scaffolding would collapse, even in unremarkable weather conditions.

Swain Scaffolding Limited of Heol Y Nant, Rhiwbina, Cardiff was found guilty of breaching Regulation 19(2) of the Construction Design and Management Regulations and was fined £24,000 and ordered to pay £3452.50 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Gemma Pavey commented: "Failure to adequately design and install scaffolding, so that it can withstand foreseeable loads, creates risk to workers and members of the public who could be injured by an uncontrolled collapse.

"Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards."

HSE: Scaffold collapse



The current and past governments have highlighted efforts to reduce teacher workload

  • "The creation in May 2018 of a Workload Advisory Group to consider how to remove unnecessary workload associated with data and collection for assessment in schools. The Group published its recommendations, which the Government accepted, in November 2018." (Teacher recruitment and retention in England - Briefing Paper - Number 7222, 10 December 2018)
  • Ofsted are committed to tackling teacher workload through looking unfavourably on schools that use burdensome data collection.
  • "leaders engage with their staff and are aware and take account of the main pressures on them. They are realistic and constructive in the way they manage staff including their workload" (Education inspection framework January 2019, No. 180039 (Draft))


  • STC Health and Safety and the the Unions have established a Health and Wellbeing in Schools quarterly forum.
  • A stress website has been established which details STC's procedures and links to other organisations - further information will be developed.
  • Joanne Woods (H&S Advisor) is currently working on an overall strategy including better promotion of the mental health first aiders across the council.
  • Mental health first aid training is available for anyone who is interested.
  • Access to Work Mental Health Service is a free confidential service provided by Remploy funded by Department for Work and Pensions for people who are suffering from a mental health issue which is affecting them at work.

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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