July 1999 - SCHOOL REPS HEALTH & SAFETY NEWSLETTER

BUILDING ACTIVITIES IN SCHOOLS

If they haven't arrived yet, they soon will, and on a very large scale. Few schools will escape some degree of construction work or other, so here are guidelines on how to help minimise the disruption ,and safeguard Health & Safety standards.

CHECKLISTS

Enclosed are some guidelines on specific hazards which might be encountered when building works are carried out in your school.

"Construction Work: Checklist for Safety Representatives"

This consists of a series of questions to which the answers should largely be positive, if Health & Safety issues are being correctly addressed. It would normally be an externally appointed Union Safety Representative who looked into these issues, but since your school only gets visited once a term (in first or middle schools) or once a half term (in upper schools), it will be necessary for you to be vigilant and call us in if you think safety standards are being flouted. Use these questions as a guide to what safety precautions should be in place, and let us know if you have any concerns.

"Appendix 1 - Checklist of Precautions for Building Activities in Schools"

This is a condensed version of the guidance offered by the Health & Safety Executive. It offers suggestions on what precautions will be necessary to eliminate specific hazards. Again, use them as a guide to what should be happening and get in touch with us if you have any concerns.

What Happens Next?

Before any work starts there should be a "Pre-Site" Meeting, where the nature of the work to be done is detailed, locations in which work is to be undertaken explained, contractors are informed about hours, access arrangements and other considerations specific to the premises such as pupils with special physical needs. Agreements on the methods for separating the work area from open access areas eg fencing; procedures for notification of location of roof works so that rooms underneath can be vacated; movement of contractors' plant; limiting noise and dust etc etc, would all hopefully be reached at the pre-site meeting.

There is an agreement in Bradford that a Union Safety Representative is invited to these meetings. the Union with the largest membership in the school sends its Safety Representative who then looks after the interests of the whole of the staff. It is the headteacher who should issue the invitation to the Union Safety Representative. Please ask your head whether or not they have been informed that they have this responsibility.

If things go wrong during the building work, further site meetings can be called, again with the Safety Representative from the largest Union in attendance. Call us in at any time and we will assess whether there are issues that need looking at through the convening of such a meeting.

You may give your headteacher copies of the documents contained in this mailing if they would find them helpful.

A further source of information will be the "Health and Safety Plan" which must be drawn up by the Authority and Contractors, and be available to staff in school. Refer to this as a first step if you have concerns.

 

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