According to health and safety regulations, the employer is responsible for the health and safety of all employees. In a school setting, these laws are stretched to encompass the health and safety of everyone on the premises, including students and visitors. In other words, the responsibility includes the head teacher, teachers, staff, students and parents or guardians of the students, and so on. These responsibilities don’t just include having proper procedures in place, it also means providing full cover in terms of insurance arrangements, ensuring all provisions for first aid are met, and much more. So what exactly does it all mean? Here’s what you need to know about first aid and health and safety in a school setting.
Who’s the employer- who’s responsible?
In schools, it’s sometimes difficult to tell who is the person responsible. In a county setting, the LEA (Local Education Authority) is responsible. These duties are then delegated to managers and staff. It’s the LEA’s responsibility to draft the policies that govern health and safety regulations. The head teacher is then responsible for putting those policies in place and developing detailed procedures. It’s also the head teacher’s responsibility to ensure parents are aware of the regulations, including first aid provisions.
One point at the top of the list – required by law – is to go through a thorough risk assessment. Based on this assessment, proper procedures can be created, put in place and applied. From this, it follows that proper equipment, facilities, and first aid personnel be provided. The main questions to ask are:
- Are there any students or staff with special health needs or disabilities?
- How many first aid staff members are required to provide adequate aid?
- How many first aid boxes should the school have? What should be in them, and where will they be positioned?
Getting the right training
A person designated as a first aider must be duly certified by a training provider accredited by the HSE.
It’s interesting to note that the standard first aid at work training does not include courses on resuscitation procedures for children. Considering the environment – the school – it is important that these should be included and that any courses taken are tailor-made to the risk; first aiders in schools should undergo those courses.
The first aid certificates are valid for three years. Hence, after about two and a half years, the appointed personnel should avail of refresher courses and retesting to ensure their knowledge remains up to date and valid, as established training providers like www.firstresponsetraining.com will confirm. It’s important that first aiders not wait until the certificate becomes expired, otherwise they will have to take the whole first aid training again.