Risk assessments are central to the management of health and safety within a school.
Line managers (principals, vice principals, heads of departments) have a responsibility to carry out risk assessments and ensure that they are suitable and sufficient.
This section contains generic qualitative risk assessments which have been produced to assist schools with the risk assessment process, and should form a good foundation for identifying hazards, assessing risks and implementing controls. However, you must also pay attention to your own school environment. Some assessments may not be relevant to your establishment, others may need customising to suit your specific location and/or work activity and others may not need changing at all.
In a qualitative assessment after identifying the hazard, and deciding on how likely it is that harm will occur, consideration is given to whether the procedures and safe working practices that are already in place adequately control the risk, and meet applicable standards and guidance.
The risk assessment templates used list some of the more usual hazards identified in the school environment and their associated risks, and also a range of control measures that should be in place to eliminate such hazards or reduce the risks. The forms are only partially completed and will need to be adapted by a competent person from your establishment, who can complete the rest of the form having considered the generic hazards, risks and control measures listed on the form and adding any site specific items identified. The templates do not contain an exhaustive list of all the hazards and risks present in your school and it may be necessary to use the blank forms included for those hazards which have not been specifically dealt with.
Your risk assessment should only include what you could reasonably be expected to know – you are not expected to anticipate unforeseeable risks. Further information on the risk assessment process is contained in the manual for principals and governors.