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Health and Safety

Health and Safety

St. Columba’s N.S. Health and Safety Policy

Introduction The school safety policy has been reviewed by the Board of Management (2019-2020) in accordance with the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and with the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) - Safety and Health in Education Guidelines. It is the policy of the Board of Management to ensure, in so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare at work of all staff and to protect students, visitors, contractors and other persons at the school from injury and ill health arising from any work activity. The successful implementation of the policy requires the full support and active cooperation of all staff, students, contractors and visitors to the school. The Board recognizes that hazard identification; risk assessment and control measures are legislative requirements, which must be carried out by the employer to ensure the safety, health and welfare of all staff.

The Board of Management, as employer undertakes in so far as is reasonable practical to:

1. Promote standards of safety, health and welfare that comply with the provisions and requirements of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and other relevant legislation, standards and codes of practice;

2. Provide information, training, instruction and supervision where necessary, to enable staff to perform their work safely and effectively;

3. Maintain a constant and continuing interest in safety, health and welfare matters pertinent to the activities of the school;

4. Continually improve the system in place for the management of occupational safety, health and welfare and review it periodically to ensure it remains relevant, appropriate and effective;

5. Consult with staff on matters related to safety, health and welfare at work;

6. Provide the necessary resources to ensure the safety, health and welfare of all those to whom it owes a duty of care, including staff, students, contractors and visitors.

To these ends the Board is committed to ensuring the following;

• The design, provision and maintenance of all places in the school shall be safe and without risk to health.

• There shall be safe access to and from places of work.

• Staff shall be instructed and supervised in so far as is reasonably possible so as to ensure the health and safety at work of its employees.

• Plans for emergencies shall be complied with and revised as necessary.

• The Board of Management will continually revise this statement as necessity arises, and shall be re-examined by the Board on an annual basis.

• Employees shall be consulted on matters of health and safety.

Relationship to Ethos

This policy has been drawn up in consultation with staff, parents’ representatives and the Board of Management and with reference to the school’s mission statement. ‘St. Columba’s is a Catholic Primary school which aims at promoting the full and harmonious development of all aspects of the pupil: intellectual, physical, cultural, moral and spiritual.’ This document sets out the safety policy of the school and specifies the means to achieve that policy. The successful implementation of the policy requires the full support and active cooperation of all staff, students, contractors and visitors to the school. It is important to read the document carefully and understand your own role in the overall arrangements for health and safety in the school. Staff, parents and others are encouraged to put forward suggestions for improvements to the statement.

This document should be considered in conjunction with other policies of the Board of Management, including;

• Critical Incident Policy

• Anti - bullying policy,

• AUP policy,

• Administration of First aid /Medicines policy

• Substance abuse policy.

• Child Safeguarding Statement Rationale

The Board of Management recognises and accepts not only its statutory responsibilities but also its obligations as an employer to direct, manage and achieve, in so far as it reasonably possible, the safety, health, and welfare at work of every employee, pupil and visitor alike. The Board of Management believes that each employee accepts his or her legal and moral responsibilities for improving and maintaining safety, health and welfare in the workplace and for behaviour which does not jeopardise the individual’s personal safety, health and welfare at work or that of others. School Profile St. Columba’s N.S. is a Co-Educational Primary school. It operates according to the rules of the Department of Education and Skills under the patronage of the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin. At present there are nearly 400 pupils attending the school. The staff consists of 19 teachers, 6 special needs assistants, a secretary and a part time caretaker. The school was built in 1925. From time to time other adults such as students, parents and coaches may work also work in the school. It is a two-storey school with two single storey extensions, one constructed in the 1970’s and one in 1986. The P.E, room was constructed in the 1970’s.There are two schoolyards . There is a wheelchair accessible toilet in the school and a wheelchair accessible entrance. A new single story classroom has been added in 2020.

Resources for Health, Safety and Welfare

The following resources are in place within the school;

• Fire extinguishers break glass units and a fire alarm system is in place in the school and are maintained annually in line with fire safety guidelines.

• Two stocked first aid kits are kept on the premises.

• Policies regarding behaviour in the school and the schoolyard, bullying and administrations of medicines are in place in the school.

• New employees are given induction on the health and safety practices in the school.

• A number of staff are trained as occupational first aiders.

• Procedures are in place for the monitoring of visitors /workers to the school.

• Access to the school is carefully monitored and procedures are in place for the safe collection of children.

• The health and safety officer on the Board together with the principal/health and safety representative undertake safety audits and arrange for repairs as necessary.

• Fire drills are carried out regularly and pupils are instructed in the safe evacuation procedures.

Roles and Responsibilities

The chart below shows the overall Safety Management structure and indicates the people with responsibilities for safety: Board of Management (Safety officer) Overall responsibility for safety and health matters rests with the Board of Management and the Board has nominated one of its members as safety officer. This officer shall monitor safety generally and operation of safety procedures within the school. In addition, the Board will comply with its legal obligations as employer under the 2005 Act and will

• Ensure that the school has written risk assessments and an up - to - date safety statement.

• Guide and advise on all health, safety and welfare at work matters.

• Ensure that safety procedure are adequately communicated to staff

• Review the implementation of the safety management system and the safety statement at least annually or when changes that might affect workers’/ pupils’ safety, health and welfare occur.

• Set safety, health and welfare objectives.

• Receive regular reports on safety, health and welfare matters.

• Allocate adequate resources to deal with safety, health and welfare issues.

• Appoint competent persons as necessary, to advise and assist the board of management on safety, health and welfare at the school.

• Arrange for the appointment of a safety rep within the school.


In consultation with the safety officer, the principal has responsibility for co-ordination of all safety and health matters including;

• Complying with the requirements of the 2005 Act;

• Managing safety, health and welfare in the school on a day-to-day basis

• Communicating regularly with all members of the school community on safety health and welfare matters. Bring any changes to the attention of staff.

• Ensuring all accidents and incidents are investigated and all relevant statutory reports completed

• Coordinating fire drills, training, etc. with the relevant post holder

• Ensuring that fire - fighting equipment is tested annually.

• Carrying out safety audits with the safety officer and safety rep.

• Ensuring that all contracts provide a safety plan to the school before commencing work.

Relevant Post Holder/Safety Rep

The responsibilities of the safety representative include ;

• Organising fire drills on a regular basis and updating evacuation plan as necessary.

• Bringing to the attention of the safety officer any items of health and safety that need attention

• Ensuring an adequate supply of first aid kits for use on school trips.

• As far as reasonably practicable, taking account of any representations made on the subject of safety by the employees.

• Supplying a copy of the Safety Statement, together with additional information or instructions as they become available, to all present and future staff.

• Affording all possible co-operation to inspectors and officials of the relevant bodies concerned with safety and health standards.


Employees have a specific responsibility (section 13 of the safety and Welfare at Work Act, 2005) for their own safety and that of any person who may be affected by his/her acts or omissions while at work. All staff are required to;

• co-operate with school management in the implementation of the safety statement;

• inform students of the safety procedures associated with individual subjects, rooms, yard, hall or tasks

• ensure that all activities are planned so that they may be carried out safely.

• check classroom/immediate work environment to ensure it is safe and free from fault or defect

• Co-operate with the employer and any other person to such extent as will enable the employer or the other person to comply with any of the relevant statutory provisions.

• Use in such a manner as to provide the protection intended, any appliance, convenience equipment or other means or thing provided (whether for own use alone or for shared use) for securing fire safety, health or welfare while at work.

• Report without delay, any health and safety issues or concerns to the school Health and Safety representative or Health and Safety officer on the Board of Management.

Other school users

Other school users such as students, parents, volunteers, visiting speakers, sales people and all other visitors must comply with school regulations and instructions relating to safety, health and welfare. Large scale works contractors: Contractors must comply with statutory obligations as designated under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 and any other relevant legislation such as the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2006.

• The Board of Management will make available the relevant parts of the safety, health and welfare statement and safety file to any contractors working in the school on behalf of the school.

• The Board of Management will provide to contractors the school regulations and instructions relating to safety, health and welfare.

• Contractors must make available relevant parts of both their safety, health and welfare statement and risk assessments in relation to work being carried out

• Contractors must make available their public liability insurance certificates before commencement of work.

• If the school is sharing a workplace with a contractor it will co-operate and coordinate school activities in order to prevent risks to safety, health and welfare at work. Short duration, low risk, single contractor works involving routine maintenance, cleaning, decorating or repair Where this work involves a single contractor and where there are no particular risks present and task duration will not exceed 30 working days or 500 person days, to comply with safety, health and welfare requirements and to ensure this type of work is carried out safely with minimal disruptions, the following key points should be followed:

• The board of management must ensure that the contractor is competent. This means that the contractor is suitably qualified and experienced and is registered. For instance, an electrician should be registered with the Register of Electrical Contractors of Ireland (RECI) or the Electrical Contractors Safety and Standards Association (ECSSA).

• The contractor and the principal will meet before the project commences to ensure communication links are established before work starts and throughout the contract. The contractor must advise the principal about the likely duration of the work, any possible hazards, and how these will be addressed. The contractor must also provide the principal with a copy of its safety statement including any relevant risk assessments for the project to be undertaken. Likewise the principal will advise the contractor about necessary precautions which need to be considered, particularly if work is being carried out during school time. Substantial building works, (e.g. extension to school building): Where substantial building work lasting more than 30 days or 500 person days is being considered, the Board of Management take on the responsibility of “client”. The client (Board of Management) will

• appoint, in writing before design work starts, a Project Supervisor for the Design Process (PSDP) who has adequate training, knowledge, experience and resources;

• appoint, in writing before construction begins, a Project Supervisor for the Construction Stage (PSCS) who has adequate training, knowledge, experience and resources;

• co-operate with the project supervisors and supply any necessary information;

• notify the HSA of the appointment of the PSDP on Approved Form AF1 “Particulars to be notified by the Client to the Health and Safety Authority before the design process begins”;

• Retain and make available the safety file for the completed structure. The safety file contains information on the completed structure that will be required for future maintenance or renovation. Prior to carrying out any construction work the board of Management, as client will familiarise itself with its legal health and safety responsibilities, as detailed in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2006. The Board of management will follow the advice laid down in the technical guidelines published by the Department of Education and Skills . 

Risk Assessment 

The Board of Management is committed to identifying and eliminating any hazards in the school through a risk assessment and annual audit. The Board will make use of advice available from such sources as the Department of Education, relevant national authorities such as the National Authority for Safety Health and Welfare at Work and Dublin Corporation Fire Prevention Section. Where necessary, competent consultants and bodies with special skills and services may be used for training and to augment the internal audits. The Board through its risk assessment will;

• Identify the risks

• Evaluate the risk in proportion to the hazard

• Put in place the appropriate control measure to eliminate or minimise the risk

• Consult with employees

A detailed risk assessment of the various areas within the school is included in the appendices. The board of management may delegate the task of completing the risk assessment to the appropriate person for example the individual teacher of each classroom. There is no need to consider every minor hazard or risk that we accept as part of our lives Fire Drill /Emergency Procedure Fire drills take place every term. (The Alarm company is advised of fire drills).

Principal and Secretary (Firedrills/Emergencies)

The Principal will sound the alarm in the case of a practice fire drill. In the case of a real fire the teacher/principal/secretary/caretaker presses the nearest emergency red button at the source of the fire. Secretary should contact the fire brigade and bring her phone on leaving the building. If safe, Principal checks all the corridor toilets before exiting the building. Teacher in room 14 checks toilets on top corridor as she leaves the building. An assigned SNA will check toilets on bottom corridor.

Teachers’ Role (Firedrills/Emergencies)

On hearing the alarm, the teacher encourages the children to remain calm. The teacher ensures he/she has his/her phone to contact parents via Aladdin. It is imperative that the teacher is last to leave the classroom, closes the door and remains at the rear of the line. The class moves swiftly to their designated exit in an orderly fashion. (as shown on plan beside each classroom door) Each class lines up on their specified line to allow the teacher to do a head count. In the unlikely event that a child is not with his/her class, they join the nearest line, exit the building and join their own class in the yard. If they are with another class/teacher, they leave the building with this class/teacher.

Lunchtime Fire drills

Children indoors: On sound of the alarm the staff will move swiftly to their own classroom, if it is safe to do so. The teachers on duty put the above procedures into operation.

Children outdoors: On sound of the alarm bell, the teachers proceed to the yard with their phones for assembly procedure as above.

Operation of Fire Extinguishers and Sprinklers

They are serviced every year.

Parents’ Role in the event of an emergency

They must remain outside the gates to avoid panic and confusion unless notified to collect children. Teachers will record the names of children as they have been collected. Administration of Medicine Prescription medicines. These should not be administered by school on the short term.

Long term medication: Parents must apply in writing to the BOM seeking permission for the school to administer medication. The relevant indemnity form must be filled out - see CPSMA handbook page 304 (inhalers are long term and as such require the indemnity form). Each individual case will be arranged between Board of Management and the parent. 

Non-prescription medicines.

Non-prescription medicines, eg paracetamol, will only be administered under supervision by the school principal. Records Medical History-to be detailed by parents on enrolment form. Indemnity forms-C.P.S.M.A page 303-304. Available from office in cases where they are needed.

Nomination forms: Details of adult responsible for the child when parents are unavailable must be detailed on enrolment form. Accident Report Book : Major incidents to be detailed. This will be filled in by teacher on duty on the yard. Emergency phone numbers for staff and pupils are on Aladdin.

First aid Resources

Each corridor has its own First Aid kit. First Aid kit to be kept accessible to yard. First Aid kit in the office. First Aid Kits should be taken on school tours and matches. Reminder to staff that children should not administer First Aid.

When an accident happens Yard 

Break – minor injuries

Child may sit on a chair inside the small yard door where teacher on small yard can see the child. Class Teacher deals with it after break is over -a First Aid kit located near the small yard door. (More serious injury) Send an older child for the Principal. Child with serious injuries brought to the office to be checked (eg. eyes/ears/teeth/head etc.) Principal contacts parents

Major accidents to be entered in accident book. Medical aid is sought if necessary. (In the absence/unavailability of the Principal, the Deputy Principal will deal with the situation) Procedure for conflict in the yard Verbal reprimand Time out If continuous a privilege can be withdrawn. Consistent conflicts - principal will contact parents. Sanctions -code of behaviour.

Safety Rules

Children should not enter school building before 8.30/8.40 a.m. unless supervised by a teacher. Parents are reminded annually that children are not supervised in the yard before 9 a.m. or after school hours at 2.40 p.m. unless children are taking part in specific before- school or after-school activities. On wet days children are usually supervised in the school hall. It is the parents’/guardians’ responsibility if children are left on school premises outside of these times. Children should line up in school yard in the morning and await collection by the class teacher or principal. At the end of the school day, pupils exit with their teachers and await collection by parents/guardians in the yard. Classroom teacher will supervise the hanging-up of coats, toilet trips and movement in corridor and on stairs where children will be required to walk quietly and to hold handrail on stairs. The main /outer gate and dividing gate to be closed over during school hours and all visitors to be buzzed in through main entrance. Last person in from the yard after playtime should ensure door is bolted from the inside. Inside the classroom: All children will walk within room. On wet days at break-times all children should remain seated. Children should ask permission to use the bathroom from the teacher on duty. Teacher on break-time supervision should ensure all classroom doors remain open. Teacher will visit each room regularly during the supervision period. Any problem/query is to be referred to and dealt with by teacher on corridor duty. Any accidents should be recorded in Accident Report Book. Supervision Breaks: Three teachers on duty with SNA’s on the corridors and two teachers and SNA’s in the yards.

Entering school for toilets during yard time:

Permission may be granted to the child by the teacher on yard duty. Teachers on duty will ensure that front and side gates are closed over at beginning of break time. Teachers will collect classes from yard promptly. Last person in from the yard after playtime should ensure door is bolted from the inside. Infectious Disease It is school policy to notify all infectious diseases to parents and staff. Risk will be minimised with adherence to sound principles of cleanliness, hygiene and disinfectant. Disposable gloves are provided for use in all first aid applications, cleaning jobs etc. Staff has been provided with separate toilets with hot water and cold water, a disposal unit and soap.

Covid - 19 A risk assessment has been carried out regarding the prevention of the spread of Covid - 19. This risk assessment has been made available to the school community and has been published on the school website Contact details for all of the children have been updated HSE Covid - 19 information is freely available and is displayed around the school. Our website is updated regularly re Covid -19. Our Child Safeguarding Statement and our Code of Behaviour have been updated to include procedures around the prevention of the spread of Covid -19. Electrical Appliances Electrical appliances, machinery and kitchen equipment should only be used by competent persons. Arrangements will be made for all electrical appliances to be checked on an annual basis by a competent person, i.e. a maintenance person. Before using any appliances, the user should check that: -

• All safety guards which are a normal part of the appliance are fitted and are in working order

• Power supply cables/leads are intact and free of cuts and abrasions

• Suitable undamaged fused plug-tops are used and fitted with the correct fuse.


Staff should be careful when using any of the above as injury may occur from moving parts and hot elements inside protective covers.

Chemicals, Solvents, Detergents

Members of staff using these materials should familiarise themselves with any hazard associated with the materials and precautions to be taken in the event of spillage, splashes etc. All such materials will be stored in clearly identifiable containers bearing instructions and precautions for their use. They will be kept in a locked storage area and protection for their use will be provided. Contract cleaners are employed in the school and they provide their own supplies for cleaning. These are also kept in a locked area.

Welfare of staff

To ensure the continued welfare of employees, a staffroom and cloakroom facilities are provided. Staff should co-operate in maintaining a high standard of hygiene in these areas. Staff members using the fridges are expected to remove any perishable uneaten food at the end of each week. A dignity in work policy is in place in the school and the Board of Management is committed to providing a work environment free from harassment of any kind. The Board will ensure that any allegations of harassment are fully investigated and dealt with in a fair and objective manner. Through the means of staff and peer support, MedMark and Carecall, staff will be supported through illness and or injury. In addition the school community will seek to develop a culture where a sense of belonging and connectedness is fostered. Communication of Policy Copies of the policy will be given to all staff members and will also be available in electronic form. It will be published on the school website. The Board of Management will undertake a review of health and safety issues annually and any changes will be communicated to staff. Parents and guardians will receive updates via e- newsletters . Concluding Comment The Safety Statement has been based on conditions existing in the premises of the school at the time of writing. The Board of Management is committed to playing an active role in the implementation of this occupational safety, health and welfare policy and undertakes to review and revise it in light of changes in legislation, experience and other relevant developments.

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