A joint risk review by the State Claims Agency and the Department of Education and Science (DES), was conducted in 2004, to assess occupational health and safety standards in Post-primary technology workshops.
Occupational health and safety management in post-primary schools
The State Claims Agency’s statutory mandate includes advice and assistance to Community and Comprehensive schools in managing occupational health and safety risks. The review concentrates on risks in technology facilities not just in the schools in question but, at the request of the Department of Education and Science, in all post-primary schools.
The occupational health and safety of pupils, teachers and other staffs is of paramount importance. A rigorous and accountable system of occupational health and safety management will help to prevent accidents. To the extent that they occur – and lead to civil liability claims – such a system will assist schools in demonstrating the discharge of their duty of care.
More widely, by emphasising to pupils the importance of a safe working environment, we can instil appropriate attitudes to occupational health and safety at an early age. A positive safety culture is a critical factor in helping to reduce accidents. Schools can play a vital role in this, and contribute to an enhanced awareness of safety issues at all levels of society
The objective of the review was to assess existing occupational health and safety standards and to publish a report and guidelines, which would outline the measures (supplementary to existing guidance), required to address any deficiencies in safety standards that may have been identified.
It is not possible to review the management of risk in the technologies without doing so in the context of the structures and systems in place for the management of risk in the school as a whole. As such, the scope of the review was extended to include an assessment of the management of occupational health and safety throughout the school as it impacts on the technologies.
The report deals with what the review commonly found to be the critical issues within the technologies, which were not being adequately addressed by the schools occupational health and safety management system.