The presence of a successful health and safety policy in schools is at the core of all successful schools. Health and safety play a crucial role in Ofsted inspections.
Following a health and safety audit checklist and having regular health and safety audits is super important in solidifying your school’s success and good Ofsted rating.
What is a Health and Safety Audit?
A health and safety audit is a thorough assessment of a school’s health and safety procedures and policies.
A health and safety audit looks at if a school’s health and safety procedures deliver their expected outcomes and if the procedures are appropriate. The audit also looks into if the school is effectively protecting the wellbeing of its staff and students by complying with the appropriate regulations.
Are Health & Safety Audits in Schools a Legal Requirement?
Health and safety audits are not a legal requirement but are beneficial for schools to see if the health and safety policy they have in place is both fit for purpose and effective. It is, however, a legal requirement for schools to have a health and safety policy in place.
A health and safety audit checklist for schools is recommended to make sure the legally required health and safety policy is doing its job of thoroughly protecting everyone in the school.
Who is Responsible for Health and Safety in Schools?
The local authority, governing body or academy trust is responsible for the health and safety policies set in schools (depending on the type of school).
The headteacher has the day-to-day responsibility of the school’s health and safety and monitors if the correct policies are being followed. However, anyone within the school can follow health and safety audit checklists if they wish to do so, this doesn’t have to be the headteacher’s responsibility.
How Does a Health and Safety Audit Checklist Help Schools?
Having regular health and safety audits conducted in schools brings numerous benefits to schools.
Having thorough audits gives staff and students reassurance that their school has effective measures in place to protect their wellbeing. Staff and students become motivated knowing that their establishment is taking action to protect their health and safety.
Having regular audits with a specified health and safety audit checklist safeguards the existence of the school. This prevents any legal complications or financial repercussions that could arise without having regular health and safety audits.
Health and safety audits in schools are detailed. Not only do health and safety audits highlight important improvements that need making, but they also show what the school is doing right to protect its staff and students. This can be communicated through the school for added reassurance.
Health and Safety Audit Checklist Criteria
There are three main criteria that feature in a health and safety audit checklist for schools:
- Slips, trips and falls – this means ensuring that corridors and any walkways are clear and clear of any hazards that could cause a fall. The majority of non-fatal accidents in schools are slips and trips, so this is an important factor to look at.
- Fire risks and prevention – this means checking for relevant equipment around the school/classroom that would be able to fight a fire or alert everyone in the building that there is a fire. Having methods in place for fire prevention is super important because the effects of a fire can be devastating.
- Furniture and appliances – the main focus here is to check that all large furniture is securely fastened or built so that they don’t fall or collapse causing any injuries.
For an example of a full health and safety audit checklist for schools, Health and Safety Executive have a great example of a health and safety checklist for classrooms.
Conducting a Health and Safety Audit for Schools: Top 5 Tips
- A safety audit can only be as good as the professionals conducting it so make sure to do your research when looking at health and safety auditors.
- Have consistent regularity with health and safety audits to maintain confidence that the health and safety policies in place are effective.
- Accept the good and the bad. There will always be room for improvement and this is completely normal.
- Keep a record of all accidents to know where your main areas of improvement should be for a good starting point.
- Communicate your results to keep the relevant people in the loop.
Compliance Pod Education is a compliance management software specifically designed for and by schools. There are modules that incorporate risk assessments and policy management so your school can keep on top of everything health and safety.