It’s September, and that means children everywhere are going back to school – but it’s perhaps a time to think less about the risks of taking a conker to the eye, and more about the importance of edge protection.
The HSE is urging parents and teachers alike “not to wrap kids in cotton wool”, and is looking to dispel some of the myths that abound about school health and safety precautions.
Geoff Cox, head of HSE’s public services sector, said: “Our myth busting shows that schools sometimes go over the top in their efforts to get health and safety right – but in some cases they don’t go far enough.”
Lots of pupil health issues are not actually subject to occupational health and safety legislation – such as food hygiene, pupil behaviour and preventing the spread of communicable diseases, all of which may be governed by other authorities, but are not part of the role of the HSE.
But health and safety law does apply to contractors working on school premises – and specifically to “falls from height” and “construction and maintenance activities”.
As such, any roof work should be safeguarded with roof rails, edge protection and the use of man anchors, to help ensure the new academic year does not begin with disaster.