HSA launches new safety and health management resource for primary schools

Tuesday 22nd October

Ireland’s primary schools have a valuable new resource to help them manage safety, health and welfare in a work and school environment following the publication today (Tuesday) of the Guidelines on Managing Safety, Health and Welfare in Primary Schools.

The Health and Safety Authority and Kilkenny Education Centre, together with the Department of Education and Skills developed the Guidelines in response to a strong demand from primary schools for guidance and clarification to enable them to better manage their existing legal obligations and responsibilities. The Guidelines are intended as a single comprehensive guidance document and toolkit that reflects current legislative requirements and best practice. They do not place any additional responsibilities on schools beyond what already exist.

The Guidelines set out a step-by-step approach to safety and health management that can be used by primary schools to develop new systems or to improve those already in place. They contain a suite of materials including a series of planning templates, a sample safety and health policy, management organisation charts and training and monitoring tools. There are also risk assessment templates for the most common hazards and risks found in the primary school environment.

Copies of the Guidelines will be issued to all primary schools together with a CD version of the Guidelines for ease of use. Training on implementing the Guidelines will be available to schools through their local full-time Education Centre.

Speaking at the launch of the Guidelines, Martin O’Halloran, CEO of the Health and Safety Authority, said: “The provision of a safe working and learning environment for staff and students is a fundamental responsibility of school management authorities and the Guidelines provide them with a structured practical approach to achieving this.”

Also speaking at the launch, Brian Cody, primary school Principal and Kilkenny Hurling Manager said: “Schools are very busy places and as a Principal myself, I’m delighted to see the HSA’s Guidelines for primary schools being launched. It’s a very practical resource on health and safety for schools and clearly lays out what has to be done to meet legal requirements and how to do it.

“The risk assessment templates are great and cover all parts of the school. The Guidelines take a common sense approach to managing safety in a school environment and it will give Principals and Boards of Management real peace of mind that they can put a straightforward system in place that will keep their school compliant and make it a safer place to work and learn in.”

Mr. Paul Fields, Director of Kilkenny Education Centre added, “The practical advice and tools contained in the Guidelines represent a solid support for schools. We are very pleased to be able to partner the HSA in this project and we are looking forward to working with the full-time Education Centres around the country in rolling out training for schools.”

The Department of Education and Skills welcomes the publication of this aid for school management and staff in their approach to managing safety and health.

The Guidelines may also be downloaded from the Health and Safety Authority website www.hsa.ie/education