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Safer Schools Bulletin September 2019

Department for Education Health and Safety updates

Asbestos data collections

As part of the asbestos management assurance process (AMAP) data collection, the DfE asked schools to provide information about their asbestos management practices. This included confirming they were compliant with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

The report covers information provided by schools and their responsible bodies between 1 March 2018 and 15 February 2019. You can use the spreadsheet to see which schools and responsible bodies participated in the AMAP. To view the report go to GOV.UK: Asbestos management assurance process (AMAP) report.

Further details on the process is available at GOV.UK: Asbestos management assurance process (AMAP) user guide.

As part of the AMAP process the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are currently undertaking audits at schools in South Tyneside. They have already visited East Boldon Juniors and are contacting more schools to complete their audit. Please ensure that your documentation and training is up to date. If you require any further information or assistance please contact the South Tyneside Council Asbestos Team.

Accident and incidents

Failure to secure construction site led to teenager falling 10m from scaffold platform (18/04/2019)

A 12-year-old boy slipped off a scaffold ladder and fell 10m, a court has heard.

Article date: Thursday 18 April 2019

The scaffolding had been erected by construction company Westdale Services, which pleaded guilty to breaching s 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act over the incident on 6 May 2017. 

Cardiff Magistrates' Court was told that two boys accessed the site at Southville Flats in Cwmbran. They were able to climb the ladder within the scaffolding by placing their feet either side of a ladder guard that did not cover the rungs of the ladder. 

One boy went to the top platform of the scaffold and then climbed the uppermost ladder to a height of about 10m. The ladder slipped, and the boy fell to the ground, sustaining life-changing injuries requiring multiple operations. He now has no bladder or bowel control and is only able to walk short distances.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the security arrangements for preventing access to the scaffolding, especially by children from a nearby school, were inadequate.

Westdale Services has been fined £160,000 and ordered to pay £22,310 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Michael Batt commented: "A lot of thought must go into securing construction sites. Children do not perceive danger as adults do. The potential for unauthorised access to construction sites must be carefully risk assessed and effective controls put in place.

"This incident could have been prevented by removal of the ladder completely or installing an appropriately sized ladder guard to cover the full width of the rungs."

Failure to secure construction site led to teenager falling 10 m from scaffold


South Tyneside Admin Representatives for Schools (STARS), Network Event 27/06/2019

Health and Safety was invited to present 'accidents and accident reporting in schools' and Caroline Hall (Change 4 Life Public Health Practitioner at South Tyneside Council) and Sue Smith (St Mary's Catholic Primary School) were there to present the South Tyneside Workplace Health Alliance, Better Health at Work Award trying to encourage all schools to participate.  For further details and contacts information, see Better Health at Work North East.

Wellbeing strategy is still in progress

Joanne Woods is currently working on the mental health side and looking at better promotion of the mental health first aiders across the council. We have had a number of people trained in the past but nothing has happened since they were trained, Joanne is looking at pulling the network together and providing them the support and any further training to keep them upskilled to be able to provide help to others.

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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