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Egham Park School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share his commitment.
It is the policy of Egham Park School that a risk assessment is carried out in respect to all activities, processes, substances, and pupils, and that it is regularly reviewed and documented where necessary. The responsibility rests with the Principal, though she can also nominate competent staff to carry out these assessments.
The establishment has a responsibility under S2 and 3 of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of employees and other persons (pupils, visitors, volunteers, contractors, etc.) who may be affected by the work activity. The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1992 further amplifies this duty and imposes a specific requirement upon Egham Park School to carry out a ‘suitable and sufficient’ assessment of all risks to the health and safety of employees and others arising at or from a work activity. Furthermore, all modern legislation now contains a duty to carry out risk assessment for specific types of hazards such as those associated with fire, substances, electricity, noise, manual handling, VDU work, etc. The purpose of this document, therefore, is to:
Provide guidance to enable all Egham Park staff to comply with risk assessment duties as required by relevant law. Introduce a structured, systematic, and proactive approach to the management of risk.
Outline the five principal steps to risk assessment.
RISK ASSESSMENT: A structured and systematic procedure for identifying hazards and evaluating risks to prioritise decisions to reduce risks to an acceptable level.
HAZARD: Something with the inherent ‘potential to cause harm’. This can include substance, machines, and methods of work or work organisation.
RISK: Is the chance, great or small, that someone will be harmed by the hazard. The magnitude/scale of the risk is measured in terms of its consequences, frequency, and severity. It can be expressed as:
RISK = HAZARD SEVERITY X LIKELIHOOD/PROBABILITY OF OCCURRENCE
Assessments should be conducted by competent staff nominated by the Principal. Assessors should understand the workplace, an ability to make sound judgements and knowledge of the best ways to reduce those risks identified. Competency does not require a particular level of qualification, but may be defined as a combination of knowledge, skills, experiences, and personal qualities, including the ability to recognise the extent and limitation of one’s own competence.
Suitable and Sufficient Assessment
A ‘suitable and sufficient assessment’ as required by the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations is one that:
- Correctly and accurately identifies a hazard
- Disregards inconsequential risks and those risks associated with life in general
- Determines the likelihood of injury or harm arising
- Quantifies the severity of the consequences and the numbers of people who could be affected.
- Considers any existing control measures
- Identifies any specific legal duty or requirement relating to the hazard
- Will remain valid for a reasonable period
- Provides sufficient information to enable the Principal to decide upon appropriate measures, considering the latest scientific developments and advances
- Enables the school to prioritise remedial measures
If an assessment has already been carried out under any other statutory provision, e.g., Manual Handling Operations Regulations, COSHH, Noise at Work Regulations, etc. no duplicate action is necessary as a result of this document.
Carrying out the Assessment
Step 1: Look for the Hazards
This necessitates an inspection of the workplace to identify what could reasonably be expected to cause harm. Ignore the trivial and concentrate only on significant hazards which could result in serious harm or affect several people. Involve both staff and pupils in this exercise because they may be aware of hazards which are not immediately obvious. Manufacturer’s instructions, data sheets, check lists and accident records will assist in identifying hazards.
Step 2: Decide Who Might be Harmed and How
Take into account staff, pupils, contractors and members of the public in general as well as those people who may not be in the workplace all the time, e.g., cleaners and maintenance personnel. Consider how such people may be harmed. Pay particular attention to lone workers and those with disabilities since they may be more vulnerable.
Step 3: Assess the Risks
Evaluate the risks arising from the hazards and decide whether existing precautions are adequate or more should be done.
Even after all the precautions have been taken, usually some risks remain. Decide for each significant hazard whether this remaining risk is acceptable. Consider whether the existing precautions:
- Meet the standards set by legal requirement
- Comply with a recognised industry standard
- Represent good practice
- Reduce risk as far is reasonably practicable
If the answer to any of the above is ‘NO’ then consider what further precautions can be taken to control the risk so that harm is unlikely (See hazard/risk control below).
Step 4: Record Assessment Findings
An assessment should be supported by accurate record keeping unless the identified risk is trivial, and the likelihood of injury is remote or the adverse consequences would result in a very minor injury. The significant risks only, therefore, need to be recorded. Records should contain at least the following information:
- A description of the process/activity assessed
- Identification of the significant risks
- Identification of any staff/student/visitors at particular risk
- Date of assessment and where appropriate next review
- The name of the person carrying out the assessment
Step 5: Assessment Review
An assessment must be kept up to date and reviewed annually to ensure that it remains valid. Factors that may necessitate an automatic re-assessment include:
- A change in legislation
- A change in control measures
- Any significant change in the work carried out
- Transfer to new technology
- Any other reason to suspect that the original assessment is no longer valid or could be improved
The selection and implementation of the most appropriate method of risk or hazard control is crucial to any success in reducing the risk of injury or ill health to persons affected by work activities. A hierarchy of control options are listed but it may be necessary to implement a number of these measures in combination to adequately reduce the risk. The list is not exhaustive:
- Elimination (e.g., buying sliced bread rather than sliced)
- Substitution by something less hazardous
- Total enclosure (enclose it in a way that eliminates or controls the hazard, e.g., processing hazardous substances in an enclosed piped system)
- Partial enclosure. The use of LEV Systems, fume cupboards etc.
- Guarding/segregation of people.
- Permit to work systems e.g., Hot work permit to control fire risks
- Reduce the period of exposure
- Written procedures that are known and understood by those affected
- Adequate supervision
- Adequate training/staff and pupils
- Information/instruction (signs, labels, handouts)
- Personal protective equipment PPE
All these measures should be considered with the overall context of achieving ‘a safe system of work’ that reduces the risk to an acceptable level. Additionally in the context of Covid-19 all risk assessments should explicitly state the appropriate action where relevant.
Where appropriate written procedures accompany risk assessments.
Calculating the Risk and Setting Priorities
The risk assessment should enable the establishment to prioritise remedial measures. In many cases it will be clear that some risks require attention before others. Where there is uncertainty a risk rating may be attributed to each identified hazard
Severity of Injury and Ill Health Definitions
Low: Bruising, light abrasion, etc. ‘First Aid’
Burns/scalds/cuts – up to 3 days off work;
Loss time injury;
More than 3 days off work – reportable under RIDDOR 1995
High: Serious injury/damage to health, permanent disability, loss of sight, amputation etc., reportable under RIDDOR 1995.
It is important to note that analysing the likelihood and severity of harm is not the ‘be-all and end-all’ of risk assessment. The analysis is only a systematic way of ensuring that likelihood and severity are considered.
Please see Risk Assessments Folder in the Reception for completed forms and blank forms