Health & Safety Policy Statement
This policy statement was adapted to the current format in accordance with the guidelines of the Primary Professional Development Service. Our previous Safety Statement was reviewed and updated to take into account the most recent legislation in regard to Health and Safety. It was disseminated to the wider school community through the school website and ratified by the Board of Management on the 17/11/2022.
It is a legal requirement under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 for every employer, in conjunction with employees, to prepare a Health and Safety Statement. It represents the Board of Management (BOM)’s commitment to safety and health, and specifies the manner, the organisation and the resources necessary for maintaining and reviewing safety and health standards.
The BOM wishes to document their health and safety programme and make it available to all employees, outside services providers and Inspectors of the Health and Safety Authority.
Relationship to Characteristic Spirit of the School
According to our Mission Statement St. Coen’s NS strives to provide a well-ordered, caring, happy and safe environment for our pupils. In keeping with this philosophy our Health and Safety policy emphasises the importance of the health and safety of our pupils and that of all school employees. The Board of Management, St. Coen’s NS recognises the importance of the Legislation enacted in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005. This Safety Statement sets out the Safety Policy of the Board of Management, St. Coen’s NS and sets out the means to achieve that policy. The Board of Management’s objective is to endeavour to provide a safe and healthy work environment for all our employees and pupils and to meet our duties to members of the public with whom we come into contact. This policy requires the co-operation of all employees.
It is our intention to undertake regular reviews of the statement in light of experience, changes in legal requirements and operational changes. The Board of Management will undertake to carry out a safety audit annually and report to staff. This inspection / safety audit will be carried out more frequently if requested by either staff or the Board of Management. All records of accidents or ill-health will be monitored in order to ensure that any safety measures required can be put in place, wherever possible, to minimise the recurrence of such accidents and ill-health.
- to create a safe and healthy school environment by identifying, preventing and tackling hazards and their accompanying risks
- to ensure understanding of the school’s duty of care towards pupils
- to protect the school community from workplace accidents and ill health at work
- to outline procedures and practices in place to ensure safe systems of work
- to comply with all relevant health and safety legislation (so far as is reasonably practicable) to include the following areas
- Provision of a safe workplace for all employees – teachers, SNAs, secretary, caretaker, etc.
- To ensure competent employees, who will carry out safe work practices
- Safe access and egress routes
- Safe handling and use of hazardous substances and equipment
- Safe equipment including maintenance and use of appropriate guards
- Provision of appropriate personal protective equipment.
Guidelines (content of policy)
POLICY STATEMENT ON SAFETY, HEALTH AND WELFARE AT WORK OF THE BOARD OF MANAGEMENT OF St. Coen’s NS1.1 The members of the Board of Management of St. Coen’s NS are:
Chairperson: Fr Donal Roche
Secretary: Lee Kavanagh
Treasurer: Audrey Power
Other Board Members:
- Mary Murphy
- Bernie Watson
- David Walsh
- Monica Haughton
- John Snell
The Board of Management will ensure that, in so far as is practicable, the highest standards of safety shall prevail and that, at a minimum, the provisions of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 are applied.
1.2 Specifically, the Board of Management wishes to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable:
- The design, provision and maintenance of all places in a condition that is safe and without risk to health.
- The design, provision and maintenance of safe means of access to and egress from places of work.
- The provision of systems of work that are planned, organised, performed and maintained so as to be safe and without risk to health.
- The provision of instruction to staff on proper lifting techniques of pupils and dealing with pupils with challenging behaviour when such children are enrolled.
- The provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure the safety and health at work of its employees.
- The provision and maintenance of suitable protective clothing or equivalent as necessary to ensure the safety and health at works of its employees.
- The preparation and revision as necessary of adequate plans to be followed in emergencies. e.g. fire evacuation, injuries etc.
- The safety and prevention of risk to health at work in connection with use of any article or substance.
- The provision and maintenance of facilities and arrangements for the welfare of employees at work.
1.3 Obtaining where necessary, the services of competent persons for the purpose of advising on the safety and health at work of the employees e.g. Advisors from the HSE, Fire Officers, ICT Advisors re: equipment, ergonomics etc.
- An annual review of this Health & Safety Statement and a log of issues raised and remediated.
- The provision of arrangements for consultation with employees on matters of Health and Safety.
- The provision of arrangements for the selection from amongst its employees of a Health and Safety Representative.
1.4 The Board of Management recognises that its statutory obligations under legislation extend to employees, pupils, and any person legitimately conducting school business and the public.
1.5 The Board of Management of St. Coen’s NS will ensure that the provisions of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 are adhered to.
1.6 The Board of Management will form the Safety Committee to monitor the implementation of the Safety and Health policies of St. Coen’s NS and the requirement under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005.
1.7 The Board of Management will appoint a Safety Representative from the School Staff, normally the School Caretaker and a Safety Officer from the BOM.
(Declan Earls, is the Safety Representative and Board Member, Lee Kavanagh was appointed as Safety Officer for the term 2022-23)
CONSULTATION & INFORMATION
It is the policy of the Board of Management of St. Coen’s NS:
- To consult with staff in the preparation and completion of the Health and Safety Statement.
- To make available the Health & Safety Statement to all present and future staff.
- That any additional information or instructions regarding safety, health and welfare at work not contained in the document will be conveyed to all staff as it becomes available.
- That Health, Safety and Welfare will form an integral part of any future staff training and development plans.
All staff will complete Hazard Control Forms (Appendix 1) as hazards are identified. Some hazards can be rectified but others remain constant. The hazards have been divided into two categories.
Hazards that can be rectified or minimised will be dealt with as a matter of urgency. Hazard Control Forms will be posted on the Staffroom Noticeboard. When a Staff Member notices a hazard, he/she will use the form to notify the Safety Representative (Caretaker), who will rectify the issue and sign with date and time of when the issue was resolved. Those hazards that cannot be rectified will be clearly indicated and appropriate procedures listed beside them.
The Board of Management in consultation with the employees will review and make recommendations on the elimination of hazards.
It is the policy of the Board of Management of St. Coen’s NS that:
- There is an adequate supply of fire extinguishers, which will deal with any type of fire.
- All fire equipment is identified and regularly serviced.
- Regular fire drills take place at least once a term.
- Instruction is given in the use of fire extinguishers for specific materials/equipment.
- Signs will be clearly visible to ensure visitors are aware of exit doors.
- All electrical equipment be unplugged or turned off outside school hours and when classrooms are vacated for lengthy periods.
- An assembly area is designated (Basketball courts)
- Those leaving buildings/classrooms should let someone know.
- Exit signs are clearly marked.
- The teacher in each classroom will be responsible for fire evacuation and fire drills procedures.
- A fire officer has checked the school and equipment and all recommendations made by him/her have been implemented.
- The position of Principal has as one of its duties to act as Fire Marshall and oversee in conjunction with the Safety Officer and Representative the above aspects of the policy.
- The surface of some of the playing areas is uneven, rocky and potentially hazardous.
- Some classroom windows open out at head level.
- There are basketball poles on the school playground.
- Pupils are not allowed to play in the school grounds during weather which would pose a danger to their safety e.g. frost snow, and ice.
- During particularly inclement weather the Board of Management reserves the right to keep the school closed if it is felt that a risk is posed to staff and pupils by travelling to or attending school.
It is the policy of the Board of Management of St. Coen’s NS that only competent persons use Electrical Appliances. Such appliances and equipment will be subject to regular maintenance checks.
It is the policy of the Board of Management of St. Coen’s NS that all chemicals, detergents etc., be stored in clearly identifiable containers bearing instructions and precautions for their use and kept in a locked area, and protection provided for use when handling them.
It is the policy of the Board of Management of St. Coen’s that no drugs or medication be administered to pupils by members of school staff due to the fact that staff are not qualified to do so and therefore could pose a threat to the welfare of the pupils. In exceptional circumstances where emergency medication is required to safeguard a seriously ill child’s welfare, a teacher or SNA may be requested to administer such medication.
It is the policy of the Board of Management of St. Coen’s that the washing of floors is conducted after school hours to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, elimination of danger of slipping.
The Code of Behaviour
The Code of Behaviour in the school provides for a level of appropriate behaviour to minimise personal risk or stress to any employee.
Accidents and Injuries
However vigilant the school staff is in relation to pupil safety, accidents will happen and correct procedures in the event of accidents can prevent or minimise injuries.
The St. Coen’s NS Anti-Bullying Policy is a stand-alone policy, which provides a framework for dealing with instances of bullying among pupils. The procedures for dealing with Adult Bullying are in accordance with the INTO publication ‘Working Together: Procedures and Policies for Positive Staff Relations (2000)’ and our ‘Dignity at Work Statement’.
Access to Employees is by Consent
When an employee feels at risk from or threatened by a particular person on school property, this must be drawn to the Board of Management’s attention. The Board of Management will undertake to ensure that in such circumstances all appropriate measures will be taken to protect employees.
Trained First Aid Personnel
It is the policy of the Board of Management that:
- Employees will be trained to apply First Aid to pupils and other employees.
- All required remedies and equipment are made available for first aid function.
- There will be an adequate supply of properly equipped First Aid Boxes available at all times to staff which will contain:
- Elastoplast plasters
- Disinfectant (e.g) Savlon
- Cotton Bandage
- First Aid Chart
Educational visits will be booked with a reputable, properly insured coach service with fully seat-belted coaches. We will aim for a ratio of ten pupils per adult (teacher or parent) but not more than fifteen. Every effort will be made to ensure the safety of the pupils at events or activities they are participating in i.e. the theatre, swimming pool, playground, etc. will be properly equipped and manned by qualified staff.
Visitors to the School
Persons coming onto the school premises must identify themselves clearly to whoever answers the door before gaining admittance to the school premises. Any contractor should make direct contact with the Principal, or Vice Principal before initiating any work on the school premises. All outside facilitators, teachers, coaches etc. who are delivering workshops to pupils will do so under the supervision and direction of the class teacher. Any outside professionals working with children without such supervision must have appropriate qualifications and Garda vetting.
On wet days, children will be supervised indoors. The pupils stay in their classroom, where they read, draw, play board games or chat.
On occasions where school is in progress and it becomes necessary to close the school for safety reasons, the school bus operators and parents who bring their children to school are contacted. Every effort is made to ensure that all parents are made aware of the situation through Text-a-Parent, local media, school website etc. Transport home is arranged and where there is nobody at home pupils can stay with neighbouring parents with their own parents’ consent.
Our success criteria will be based on the achievement of our aims to provide a safe environment for our employees, pupils and visitors. We will use staff observation and parental feedback in addition to Health Inspector’s Reports and our safety record as our benchmark for success or otherwise of the policy.
Roles and Responsibility
DUTIES OF ALL EMPLOYEES
It is the duty of every employee while at work:
- To take reasonable care for his/her own safety, health and welfare and that of any person who may be affected by his/her acts or omissions while at work.
- To co-operate with his/her employer and any other person to such an extent as will enable his/her employer and the other person to comply with any of the relevant statutory obligations.
- To use in such manner so as to provide the protection intended, any suitable appliance, protective clothing, convenience, equipment or anything provided (whether for his/her use alone or for use by him/her in common with others) for securing his/her safety, health and welfare while at work.
- To report to the Board of Management without unreasonable delay, any defects in plant, equipment, place of work or system of work, which might endanger safety, health or welfare, of which he/she might become aware.
- No person will intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse any appliance, protective clothing, convenience, equipment or anything provided in pursuance of any of the relevant statutory provisions or otherwise, for securing safety, health and welfare arising out of work activities.
- Employees will, by using available facilities and equipment provided, ensure that work practices are performed in the safest manner possible.
DUTIES OF SAFETY REPRESENTATIVE
- Conduct an assessment to identify all hazards on the appropriate form.
- Assess the risks associated with these hazards.
- Detail arrangements made, resources supplied, and responsibility required to deal with the hazards and to keep them under review.
DUTIES OF SAFETY OFFICER
- To liase with the Safety Rep on matters of Health and Safety.
- To make recommendations for the alleviation of potential hazards.
- To monitor progress in relation to dealing with hazards.
- Report on all of the above at appropriate BOM meetings.
Timeframe for Implementation
The revised policy will be implemented from November 2022.
Timeframe for Review
This policy is reviewed annually.
Responsibility for Review
The BOM will be responsible for reviewing the policy.
Ratification and Communication
The Board of Management ratified this policy on: 17th November 2022.
Signed: Fr Donal Roche, (Chairperson, BOM)
All St. Coen’s NS policies are available for inspection in the school and are available on the school website www.stcoens.com.
DOWNLOAD THE HAZARD CONTROL FORM and SAFETY REPRESENTATIVES' CHECKLIST