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What Risks are Present in Schools and Colleges?

Schools and colleges undertake a large number of activities in order to deliver the curriculum to their students. As well as the activities directly related to teaching/lecturering there are also a lot of support functions taking place. Generally, as the age of the students increases the level of health and safety risk associated with the activities also increases; so primary schools are usually, higher risk than nursery schools; secondaries higher risk than primaries etc. The lists below provide examples of the types of hazards (Hazard - something with the potential to cause harm. Harm being any kind of loss, for example injury, damage to plant or equipment etc.) which are encountered in each sector, those common to all sectors and those related to support activities.

Support Activity Hazards

Common Activity Hazards

Primary Sector Hazards

Secondary & College Sector Hazards

The above lists are not exhaustive and do not identify the many hazards that may relate to the activity (e.g. D&T Wood would include the machinery specific hazards [cuts, abrasions, in-running nips, drawing-in, entanglement, puncture wounds & noise] and the respiratory & skin hazards associated with machining wood). Schools and colleges need to systematically identify the hazards within their operations, so that the risks can be assessed and suitable control measures introduced. The most effective way to do this is to initially undertake a risk profiling exercise to gain an accurate picture of all of the activities which are being undertaken and the actual working methods being used by staff and students. This information can then be used to identify which activities need formal risk assessments because they pose a significant risk. Not undertaking a risk/hazard profiling exercise could easily result in activities with significant risks not being risk assessed and suitable control measures implemented.