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Health and safety classroom checklist

With the new school year underway, now is a great time to work through our health and safety classroom checklist to ensure you’ve got everything covered. 

Although some of the items on the checklist would apply to both teachers and pupils, this checklist is focused on ensuring and protecting the health and safety of teachers within the classroom setting.  The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 is in place to ensure the health and safety of all workers including teachers.

Slips, trips and falls

Slips, trips and falls are the most common cause of workplace injury.  Key areas and control measures to be aware of:

  1. Secure trailing cables
  2. Ensure gangways are kept clear 
  3. Check lighting is adequate throughout classroom 
  4. Clearly mark any changes in floor level

Working at height

Storing classroom supplies and equipment out of the way often involves tall cupboards and shelves.  Consider and check whether:

  1. A step or step ladder is available – do not stand on classroom chairs
  2. Do high windows have window openers?

Lone working

Teachers often remain working in their classrooms after pupils have gone home.  In very large schools and schools with mobile / stand alone classrooms it can be hard to keep track of teachers whereabouts.  To mitigate this ensure:

  1. Signing in and out procedure is strictly adhered to 
  2. Classrooms and outside areas are well lit particularly during the dark winter months

Display screen equipment

A display screen equipment (DSE) user is anyone who uses a display screen continuously for more than one hour per day.  Most, if not all, teachers are therefore DSE users and must be trained in the use of DSE.  

Manual handling

Setting up work stations and activities can often involve the manual handling of heavy and awkward shaped objects.  Consider:

  1. Have trolleys been supplied for moving TVs and heavy equipment?
  2. Are surfaces and floors clear for carrying objects over?
  3. Does the object need to be continuously moved or could it be sited somewhere else?
  4. Does the object require two people to move it?

Fire 

Teachers will generally be responsible for implementing the fire procedure in their classroom including the evacuation of their pupils.  It is critical that:

  1. A clear fire procedure is in place and understood by teachers and all staff 
  2. Fire exits are clearly marked and unobstructed

Electricity

Both sockets and electrical equipment need to be checked and in good working order. Check:

  1. Are plug sockets in good repair?
  2. Are all electrical cables in good order?
  3. Has all electrical equipment been PAT tested and carrying an update to date sticker?

Standing

Teachers spend a good proportion of their day standing.  Excessive or continual standing can cause varicose veins, painful swelling, foot problems, lower back pain and poor circulation.  Additionally, pregnant teachers who continually stand are exposed to additional risks to themselves and their unborn child.  To manage these risks ensure:

  1. There is adequate space to move around
  2. A suitable seat is available for periods of sitting

Further advice 

Health and safety in schools is a broad and, at times, complex subject.  From pupil security to first aid provision to teacher safety and outdoor activity planning there is a lot to consider.  If you require additional guidance contact us for an expert, no obligation consultation.  

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