This checklist should be used alongside the NEU’s model policy on health and safety to help you negotiate a policy acceptable to the union. You may not be able to secure everything on this checklist – if that is the case, you will need to consult members on whether the proposed policy is sufficiently positive to be acceptable.
- Is there a statement from the employer (academy chain or governing body) which states that they have overall responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of staff and students in the school?
- Will the employer ensure that a health and safety policy is produced and is regularly reviewed and revised as necessary, in conjunction with the recognised trade unions, and at least every two years?
- Is there a commitment from the employer that they will put further policies and procedures in place which address the key risks in their workplaces?
- Is there a commitment from the employer that they will check control measures in their school/s have been implemented correctly and remain appropriate and effective?
- Is it clear to whom the day-to-day responsibility for health and safety in the school has been delegated? (This is likely to be the head teacher or principal.)
- Is there a commitment to effective consultation taking place with employees on health and safety matters, and that individuals will be consulted before any health and safety responsibilities are delegated to them?
Responsibilities of the head teacher/principal
- Is it clear that the head teacher/principal has overall responsibility for implementing the health and safety policy within the school?
- Will the head teacher/principal ensure that suitable and sufficient risk assessments of work activities, and work-related stress, are undertaken and that a written record of the assessments is kept?
- Will the head teacher/principal ensure that risk assessments are reviewed annually or when circumstances change?
- Will the head teacher/principal ensure that safe systems of work are established for high risk activities?
- Will the head teacher/principal ensure that information and advice on health and safety is acted upon and communicated to staff and governors?
- Will the head teacher/principal ensure that regular health and safety inspections are undertaken and reports submitted to the governing body?
- Will the head teacher/principal ensure that an annual health and safety report is provided to the governing body?
- Will the head teacher/principal ensure there is co-operation with the employer (academy trust or governing body) in regard to its legal requirements to monitor health and safety practices and procedures?
- Will the head teacher/principal ensure that staff have the competency necessary to undertake the tasks required of them and have been provided with appropriate training by competent persons?
- Will the head teacher/principal ensure that staff are provided with appropriate equipment and resources to enable them to undertake their work safely?
- Will the head teacher/principal ensure that those who have delegated health and safety responsibilities are competent and have received appropriate training?
- Will the head teacher/principal ensure that trade union health and safety representatives are afforded their rights, including time off with pay, under the Safety Representatives and Safety Committee Regulations 1977?
Responsibilities of the governing body
- Where they are not the employer, is it clear that the governing body still has responsibilities, under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 as the ‘persons in control of premises’?
- Will the governing body ensure that the head teacher/principal meets their responsibilities detailed within the health and safety policy?
- Will the governing body ensure that sufficient funding is allocated for health and safety, eg in respect of training, personal protective equipment etc?
- Will the governing body ensure that health and safety is a standing item on agendas?
- Will the governing body ensure that a positive health and safety culture is established and maintained within the school?
Responsibilities of senior managers and department heads
- Is it clear that only deputy and assistant head teachers/principals may be delegated overall responsibility for health and safety as part of any reasonable delegation of the head teacher’s/principal’s responsibilities?
- Is it clear that heads of department/faculty may be expected to oversee health and safety matters relating to their curriculum areas?
Responsibilities of the premises manager
- Are the responsibilities of the premises manager clearly defined in the policy?
- Do their responsibilities include ensuring that:
- safe means of access and egress are maintained?
- the premises are kept clean and suitable welfare facilities are provided?
- safe working practices are in place for when contractors are on site?
- suitable security arrangements are maintained?
- suitable fire safety arrangements are implemented?
- electrical equipment is regularly tested and maintained safely?
- adequate systems are in place to manage asbestos and control legionella bacteria?
- all accidents and incidents are recorded and investigated?
- regular inspections of the premises take place, with union safety representatives invited to attend?
- a copy of the Health and Safety Law poster is displayed in an easily accessible location?
Responsibilities of all employees
- Are all employees responsible for familiarising themselves and complying with the health and safety policy?
- Is it clear that all employees should take reasonable care for their own health and safety at work and that of other persons who might be affected by their acts and omissions?
- Are all employees required to report immediately, to the head teacher/principal or other senior manager, any serious or immediate danger they become aware of?
- Are all employees required to report immediately, or as soon as is practicable, any defects in equipment or the workplace they become aware of?
- Are employees required to use correct equipment and tools for the job and use any protective equipment that is supplied by the employer?
Responsibilities of all students
- Is it clear that students must follow instructions issued by any member of staff in an emergency?
- Is it clear that students must inform a member of staff of any situation which may affect their safety or another’s safety?
Health and safety representatives
- Does the policy fully set out the employer’s responsibilities in regards to the Safety Representatives and Safety Committee Regulations 1977?
- Is it clear that the school will consult with any trade union-appointed safety reps on health and safety matters?
- Does the policy state that trade unions safety representatives will be provided with as much time off as is necessary to undertake their functions, including safety inspections and training?
Health and safety committees
- Does the policy state that employers are required to establish a safety committee if requested in writing by two safety representatives?
- Does the employer commit to establishing a safety committee regardless of whether this has been requested by safety representatives?
- Where the school is part of a chain, does the employer actively encourage the establishment of school-based safety committees, which feed into the employer committee?
- Is it clear that membership of all safety committees will be agreed between management and union representatives, and that the number of management representatives will not exceed the number of union representatives?
Health and safety policies and procedures
Does the employer have procedures and policies in place to address specific areas of health and safety, as set out in the NEU model health and safety policy?