This Health and Safety policy was originally formulated in 2006 by the staff and Board of Management of St. Patrick’s N.S.
The safety of our workforce and students is of primary importance to St. Patrick’s National School. We are committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment as a prerequisite to our activities. To this end we are committed to the protection of employees and property from accidental loss.
We will strive to eliminate any foreseeable hazards which may result in fires, damage to property, loss to the environment and/or personal injuries/illnesses.
To ensure that our operations are performed in a safe manner, we shall identify all special risks associated with our activities and shall provide training for personnel in these hazards and in their containment. Identification of hazards will lead to their elimination or control yielding a safer working environment.
Accidents can be controlled /avoided by good management in combination with active employee involvement. Prevention is the direct responsibility of all students, employees, teachers and management alike.
Co-operation is essential to safety. We ask all employees to accept individual responsibility for their own safety, to perform their jobs properly in accordance with established safe working procedures and general safety rules and to ensure they are aware of all special hazards associated with their working environment.
It is a legal requirement under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005, for every employer, in conjunction with employees, to prepare a Health and Safety policy. It represents the Board of Management’s commitment to safety and health, and specifies the manner, the organisation and the resources necessary for maintaining and reviewing safety and health standards.
The Board of Management is required to document the school’s health and safety policy and make it available to all employees, outside services providers and Inspectors of the Health and Safety Authority.
The Board of Management also considers its ‘duty of care’ in the school and this is an integral part of our Health and Safety policy.
Relationship to characteristic spirit of the school
St. Patrick’s N.S strives to create a safe and healthy working environment for all members of the school community.
Through production and implementation of this policy, the school hopes to;
” to create a safe and healthy school environment by identifying, preventing and tackling hazards and their accompanying risks
” to ensure understanding of the school’s duty of care towards pupils
” to protect the school community from workplace accidents and ill health at work
” to outline procedures and practices in place to ensure safe systems of work
” to comply with all relevant health and safety legislation (so far as is reasonably practicable) to include the following areas
o Provision of a safe workplace for all employees – teachers, SNAs, secretary, cleaners etc.
o To ensure competent employees, who will carry out safe work practices
o Safe access and egress routes
o Safe handling and use of hazardous substances and equipment
o Safe equipment including maintenance and use of appropriate guards
o Provision of appropriate personal protective equipment.
The school has prepared a Safety Statement (See Appendix 1) and this is displayed publicly on the notice board near the office.
Organisation and Responsibilities
Responsibilities of employer – Board of Management
” Provide and maintain a workplace that is safe and do likewise for all machinery and equipment etc.
” Manage work activities to ensure the safety, health and welfare of employees
” Ensure that risks are assessed and hazards are eliminated or minimized as far as is reasonably practicable
” Prepare a safety statement and regularly update it, particularly when there have been significant changes or when the risk assessment is no longer valid
” Provide and maintain decent welfare facilities for employees
” Prepare and update procedures to deal with an emergency situation and communicate these procedures to employees
” Appoint a competent person to oversee the functions of the Board in relation to Health & Safety
” Provide training and information to workers in a format and language that is appropriate, including training on the commencement of employment
” Report serious accidents to the Health and Safety Authority
” Consult annually with employees and provide them with information in relation to safety, health and welfare
” Require employers from whom services are contracted to have an up-to-date safety statement (e.g. painters, contract cleaners, bus companies…)
Responsibilities of employees
Health and safety is everyone’s business. As a worker you have legal duties designed to protect you and those with whom you work.
“Not to be under the influence of an intoxicant to the extent that they endanger your own or other persons’ safety. To submit to tests for intoxicants as and when regulations specifying testing procedures are adopted
” To co-operate with an employer or other people to ensure that the Health and Safety law is implemented
” Not to engage in improper conduct that will endanger you or anyone else
” To attend Health and Safety training and correctly use any equipment at work
” To use protective clothes and equipment provided
” To report any dangerous practices or situations that you are aware of to an appropriate person
” Not to interfere or misuse any safety equipment at your workplace
” If you are suffering from a disease or illness that adds to risks, to tell your employer.
Entitlements of safety representative; Rosie Ambrose
The safety representative has the right to:
” Represent the employees at the place of work in consultation with the employer on matters in relation to health and safety
” Inspect the place of work on a schedule agreed with the employer or immediately in the event of an accident, dangerous occurrence or imminent danger or risk to the safety, health and welfare of any person
” Receive appropriate training
” Investigate accidents and dangerous occurrences
” Investigate complaints made by employees
” Accompany an inspector carrying out an inspection at the workplace
” Make representations to the employer on matters relating to safety, health and welfare
” Make representations to and receive information from, an inspector
” Consult and liaise with other safety representatives in the same undertaking.
Each year, the Board of Management will carry out a risk assessment, identifying hazards, assessing the risks and specifying the actions required to eliminate or minimize them. Hazards may include physical, health, biological, chemical and human hazards. The Board will use the H.S.A format in Appendix 2
Other policies & practices
Other policies & practices which have a bearing on safety, health and welfare will be put in place and communicated to employees, pupils, parents and others using the premises. These will to be monitored and updated regularly e.g. an annual fire safety audit or school environment audit (See Appendices 3 and 4)., Critical Incident policy, Child Protection policy.
Health and safety is considered when any policy/plan is being drawn up e.g. PE, Visual Arts, School Excursions, etc. The duty of care is considered in all areas and aspects of school life.
Procedures to deal with emergencies
Emergency contact procedures
Contact details of the emergency services are updated annually at Staff meeting 2 in term 3 of each year. These are on display on the notice board near the office, in the First Aid bag in the Staff room and on the inside cover of the Accident /Incident book..
In case of an emergency, parents/guardians will be contacted immediately. A list of contact details is updated each September and available in the office and in the First Aid bag. In the event that no contact can be made, two members of staff will accompany the child to the emergency department if necessary.
Fire Prevention Programme
The Board of Management has established a Fire Prevention Programme
Fire Safety Management Programme
¢ To minimise the risk of fire
¢ To protect the means of escape
¢ To limit the spread of fire
Mary Conroy has been appointed as the person responsible for the programme with responsibilities for;
Day to day prevention measures.
¢ Establishment of good house-keeping practices, turning off and unplugging electrical equipment after use, use of appropriately fused plugs, heater kept uncovered.
¢ Periodic inspections
¢ Identification and elimination of potential fire hazards and risks inside and outside through an annual fire audit (Term 3 Staff meeting 2)
¢ The application of safety rules
¢ Instruction and training in the use of fire extinguisher equipment
¢ Instruction and training in Fire evacuation drills
Fire and Evacuation Drills for pupils and staff.
¢ Unannounced fire drills will be held at least once a term so that all present in the school will be familiar with what should be done in the event of a fire occurring.
¢ All people present in the school will participate.
¢ Teachers and pupils aware of the designated assembly points following evacuation of the building
¢ Assembly points clearly marked
¢ Procedures for evacuation are displayed in each classroom, the library, the P.E. hall, the staffroom and the office.
¢ The speed and success will be examined.
¢ The date and time of the fire drill recorded.
Informing the public
¢ At the start of each school term, the teacher will inform / remind staff and pupils of the procedures for fire drills and the escape routes to be used.
¢ The school has 5 exits from the building.
¢ Fire escape routes are clearly marked.
¢ Safety precautions related to escape routes and exit doors are adhered to.
¢ Fire escape routes and fire exit doorways/ passage ways are kept unobstructed and operate correctly.
¢ Guidance is given as to precautions necessary to ensure effectiveness of escape routes.
¢ Emergency lighting is provided is provided throughout the school
Provision of Fire Protection Equipment
¢ The school has an electronic fire alarm system which is audible throughout the school.
¢ Detectors are located in all sections of the building and in other concealed spaces where there is electrical wiring, heating system components and other potential sources of ignition.
¢ Smoke detectors are inspected twice a year, in Sept and in May.
¢ Adequate fire alarm call points are located throughout the school. There are points in ******
Inspection and Maintenance of Fire Protection Equipment
¢ The school has both wet and dry fire extinguishers
¢ Fire Protection Equipment, both the portable fire extinguishers and the fire alarm system are inspected and serviced annually.
¢ All staff are trained in their use and this is updated biannually.
Assisting the Fire Brigade
¢ Consulting with and implementing recommendations of the local fire brigade
¢ Fire Safety Register to be maintained, containing a record of all fire safety matters
¢ Fire Safety Register to be kept on the premises at all times and made available for inspection by any authorised officer of the fire authority.
¢ The Fire Safety Register
Serious Accident Procedure & Accident Report Form
A report will be made to the HSA in respect of the following types of incident:
¢ An accident causing loss of life to any employed or self-employed person if sustained in the course of their employment
¢ An accident sustained in the course of their employment which prevents any employed or self-employed person from performing the normal duties of their employment for more than 3 calendar days not including the date of the accident
¢ An accident to any person not at work caused by a work activity which causes loss of life or requires medical treatment.
Critical incident policy
A critical incident is any incident or sequence of events which overwhelms the normal coping mechanisms of the school.
Best practice indicates that students need to be with people they know and trust. It is, therefore, better if school staff provides most of the support for students as they will be around in the longer term and will be in a better position to monitor their students over the days and weeks following an incident.
The Board of Management may decide to host a parent meeting in order to support parents and to disseminate information. The psychologist may attend this meeting to outline the role of NEPS, answer questions on the psychological impact of the event and offer advice on how parents can best support their children.
The over-riding principle is the need to promote the safety and well-being of students and to prevent further distress.
In the event of a critical incident, support may be available from NEPS, and that the school may decide that individual or group support would be helpful to certain students.
The school will attend to prevention by having systems in place which help to promote emotional health and well-being and which build resilience in both staff and students, thus preparing them to cope with a range of life events. SPHE is a key element of a school’s prevention work.
The following will also contribute to the school’s prevention measures;
the creation of a physically safe environment, evacuation plan formulated, regular fire-drills occur, fire exits and extinguishers are regularly checked, the provision of staff training and resources on issues affecting young people, the creation of systems and procedures for the identification of students at risk, and for referral to school personnel for screening and support and links with external agencies, together with clear procedures for appropriate onward referral, are in place for those with more serious difficulties.
Staff are familiar with the Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures and how to proceed with suspicions or disclosures.
Support for school staff members and clear information on how to access the Employee Assistance Service (Free phone 1800 411 057)
In traumatic situations, the first three weeks following an incident is a time of vulnerability for staff and students.
The following 4 steps will be followed;
Step 1: Identifying what type of response is needed.
oResponse Level 1: the death of a student or staff member who was terminally ill; the death of parent/sibling; a fire in school not resulting in serious injury; serious damage to school property
o Response Level 2: the sudden death of a student or staff member
o Response Level 3: incident: an accident/event involving a number of students; a violent death; an incident with a high media profile or involving a number of schools
Step 2: Identifying should a psychologist be involved
The nature of the event will be considered and how the school is coping. The support needed from NEPS and/or other agencies will be considered.
Step 3: Assessing the needs of the school. The following questions will be used to assess the needs of the school.
o Is there a feeling of being overwhelmed by this event?
o Has there been a previous incident? How recent, what kind of incident? If more than one, how many? (If the school has experienced a recent incident or a number of incidents staff may be exhausted or distressed. On the other hand, they may feel more experienced and better able to deal with the situation).
o Are other agencies already involved?
Step 4: Identify what action should be taken
In the case of an incident requiring a Level 2 & Level 3 response, contact will be made with
NEPS. Depending on the incident at least one psychologist will visit the school.
For more detailed procedures refer to the school’s Critical Incident Policy.
In the event of exceptional closures, parents will be notified using the Text-a-Parent service.
A notice will be placed on the school gates and the school’s website will post a notice on its home page.
¢ There is a section in the Enrolment Form allowing parents to identify any allergies/illnesses of the applicant
¢ All parents are requested to inform the school of contact phone numbers and an alternative phone number of a friend or relative.
¢ Parents/Guardians are informed at the Junior Infant Induction meeting how accidents /illnesses are dealt with and the first-aid that may be administered.
Specific health issues
¢ Staff made aware of the specific health issues in relation to certain pupils as they arise on a need to know basis.
¢ The Boards of management requests parents to ensure that teachers be made aware in writing
of any medical condition suffered by any children in their class.
Administration of Medicines
The school has an Administration of Medicines policy, which includes an indemnity form where administration of medicines by a nominated member of staff is permitted in emergency situations under strictly controlled guidelines, with authorisation from the Board of Management.
Sickness or Injury
¢ Parents are contacted when children become ill during school hours.
¢ Parents of children who sustain an injury that requires medical attention are contacted.
¢ Parents of children who receive injuries and require First Aid treatment as recorded in the Incident Book are informed at home collection time in person by the child’s teacher or by phone if the child is travelling on the bus or with another parent.
¢ Children with contagious infections such as rubella, chicken pox etc are required to remain at home, until given the all clear by their doctor,
¢ Parents are requested to notify the school if they discover an incident of head lice in their child’s hair. The school will then notify all parent of the outbreak, requesting them to check their child’s hair and exercise extra vigilance.
¢ All classrooms toilet and have hand-washing facilities, soap and towels.
General cleanliness of school environment
¢ Classrooms are vacuumed and toilets cleaned daily. The playground is kept clear of litter as pupils are not permitted to bring paper or plastic packaging outdoors. Classroom bins for recycling and landfill are emptied daily. Bins for the compost are emptied on a Friday.
¢ Two members of staff Brighid Cullen and Patricia O’Byrne are qualification in First Aid.
¢ Healthy eating
¢ In order to promote an awareness of the importance of a healthy diet in maintaining good health, the school operates a Healthy Eating Policy and does discrete lessons on healthy lifestyles as part of our SPHE plan.
¢ All pupils and staff in the school have access to filtered fresh water. The children are allowed to keep a bottle of water on their desks during class time and can drink freely.
¢ The school has a prescribed uniform, with a tracksuit for P.E. activities. Runners must be worn for P.E. Pupils are not permitted to wear high heel shoes or jewellery to school.
Safety and welfare issues
Assembly and Dismissal of Pupils
¢ School starts at 9.10am and finishes at 1.50pm for Infant classes and 2.50pm for all other classes. Parents are responsible for their children outside these times.
¢ In the morning, pupils line up in the yard when the bell rings and are collected from the yard by their class teacher.
¢ At home time, Infant class pupils line up and are accompanied by their class teacher to the seating area outside the Infant gate and all other classes to the drop off point in the car park.
¢ No pupils remain unattended at the drop off point in the car park.
¢ Pupils are not permitted to play in the car park area and are directed to go immediately to their awaiting lift/ bus.
¢ Infants must be collected from the seating area. They are not permitted to cross the car park or make their own way to their awaiting lift.
¢ Pupils leaving the school premises during the school day e.g. dentist or doctor appointment must be collected by the parent/guardian collect the pupil from the classroom.
¢ A note explaining their partial absence is required.
Supervision of Pupils:
¢ The school provides supervision for all pupils in their charge.
¢ Parents are reminded each term of opening and closing times and the need to supervise their children before they are accepted into the school at 9.10 am. and to collect them promptly at home times. Teachers supervise all pupils until collected at home time. Two members of staff remain at the end of the school day until all pupils have been collected.
¢ In the event of a teacher being absent, a substitute teacher is employed in accordance with the current guidelines issued by the Department of Education and Skills. In other circumstances eg E.P.V. course days, the Learning support/ Resource teacher will provide supervision. Should less than half the staff be present, the school may have to close on Health and Safety grounds. This would depend on the number of pupils also present.
¢ The supervision roster for playground duty is clearly displayed in the staff room.
¢ This roster kept as part of the school records for 18 years.
¢ An incident / accident book is kept in the Staff Room, beside the First Aid Kit. Teachers on yard duty or the class teacher as appropriate write in reports in the event of an incident or accident which requires first aid attention-(i) bumps or injuries to the head, (ii) sprains or breaks, (iii) injuries requiring medical assistance.
¢ In the event of a serious incident or accident, a record will be written by the teacher who was in charge/ witnessed the incident in conjunction with the Safety Officer. This record will be kept in the Health and Safety file in the Office.
¢ Behaviour which causes a risk to others will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s Code of Behaviour and Anti Bullying Policy.
¢ Allegations or Suspicions of Child Abuse will be dealt with as laid out in the school’s Child Protection Policy, in line with Child Protection Guidelines
¢ School tours / Outings are properly planned, taking account of supervision, appropriate venues, mode of transport and type of activity having regard to the age and capacity of the pupils. A greater level of supervision is required than that on school premises and accompanying parents are briefed on what is expected of them, before the trip.
¢ The school conducts a Garda check on each prospective employee who will be on the school premises when any pupil may be present.
The school maintains a high standard in its ‘duty of care’ by (a) providing a safe place of work, including areas of access and egress, (b) Safe systems of work, (c) Proper plant and equipment, and (d) competent / safe Employees
¢ The Board manages and conduct its business, so far as is reasonably practicable, so that other persons present in the place of work are not exposed to risks to their safety, health or welfare (Section 12 of 2005 Act). This covers pupils, members of the public or other visitors to the school.
¢ When contractors are working in the school, the Board makes an appropriate assessment of the competence of a contractor to undertake a particular task where there is the potential for exposure to risk. The Board provides appropriate information, instruction and training on specific risks within the school to contractors coming on site.
Positive Staff Relations
¢ Practices in the following areas support positive staff relations in the school;
Internal communication (regular, transparent, open and direct communication),
Processes of decision making, on the basis of consultation and consensus within the school community when appropriate,
Effective school policies and procedures (staffs are made aware of and have access to copies of school policies and procedures covering the curricular and administrative areas),
Mutual respect (each member of staff is fully entitled to be treated with professional respect and with dignity),
A sense of fairness (staff are made aware of the importance of demonstrating a sense of fair play, tolerance and goodwill)
Dealing with unacceptable behavior, such as workplace bullying, sexual harassment, rudeness, aggressiveness, offensive language, threatening or intimidating behaviour, victimisation and harassment
¢ Members of staff are made aware of the procedures to address cases of adult bullying/ harassment or to initiate a grievance procedure at their induction meeting with the Principal on appointment to a post in the school. They are directed to Working Together -Procedures
¢ Assaults on Teachers/School Employees:
Every effort is made to create and maintain a culture in the school where acts of violence are not tolerated and where incidents if they do occur, are effectively and speedily dealt with. In the Education Sector violence is considered as a potential hazard and assessed accordingly.
The Health and Safety Authority will be notified when an accident/incident occurs in the workplace which requires treatment from a registered medical practitioner or treatment in hospital.
The following measures are implemented to prevent or minimise the risk of assault to the employees of the Board.
The schools has developed and circularised parents with policies to deal with the following matters:
” Admitting parents/visitors to the school; Parents who wish to have a consultation with a class teacher are encouraged to make a prior appointment with the relevant teacher.
” Parent -Teacher meetings; Parents should be given adequate notice regarding the timing of such meetings and encouraged to raise issues of concern. Conducting interviews at the classroom door, while simultaneously supervising a class of children is not conducive to open communication. Particular care is taken to ensure that parent/teacher consultations do not take place within the hearing of other pupils and/or parents.
” Code of Discipline; this Code is notified to all parents of new pupils. Any sanction imposed on a pupil is in accordance with the Code of Discipline. Procedures for suspending pupils are clearly set out in the school’s Code of Discipline and are adhered to.
” Complaints Procedure; A clear procedure for the processing of potential complaints is in place. The terms of the complaints procedure are notified to new parents and at the whole school welcome meeting in September/ Parents Association A.G.M. Parents are encouraged to utilise stages of the procedure where necessary.
Issues of internal school procedures are also discussed from time to time at staff meetings.
” working alone on the school premises
” working in an isolated part of the school premises
” engaging in out-of-class activities
The effectiveness of agreed procedures is reviewed where necessary.
Procedures to be implemented in the event of an assault on an employee.
The Board is fully committed to be fully supportive of staff who have been subject to violence.
The incident should be immediately reported to the principal teacher/other colleague.
The details of the incident will be recorded in an Incident Book kept for this purpose in the workplace. Situations in which members have been intimidated or threatened with physical violence will also be recorded.
(ii) Where necessary immediate medical assistance will be sought.
(iii) The matter should be reported to the Gardaí, where appropriate. This report would normally be
made by the teacher who was assaulted.
(iv) The board of management will be notified of the incident and where necessary an emergency
meeting of the Board should take place. The Board will notify its legal advisers of the assault. The
Board’s insurance company will also be notified.
(v) Where the assault is by a pupil the matter will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s Code
of Discipline and as provided for in Rule 130(5) of the Rules for National Schools.
(vi) Repeatedly aggressive pupils will be referred, with the consent of parents, for psychological
assessment in order to assess the pupil’s social and emotional needs and to determine how these can
be best met.
(vii) Where the assault is committed by a parent/guardian, the parent/guardian will be immediately instructed in writing not to make direct contact with the teacher/school pending full consideration of the matter by the Board. Subsequently the Board should correspond with the parent/guardian stating:
– that the Board considers the assault unacceptable
– what action the Board intends to take
– outlining what pre-conditions should be met before access to the school is restored.
(viii) Applications for leave of absence, in relation to a member who has been assaulted, will be forwarded to Primary Payments Section
(ix) Where an employee’s personal property is damaged in the course of an assault, compensation for its replacement value may be paid by the board of management under the extended School Protection Policy.
The Board of Management endeavours to insure that employees work in a reasonably comfortable and safe environment.
Training is given for using lifting equipment such as hoists, for using fire extinguishers
Equipment and materials
¢ Ladders and other equipment associated with school maintenance are stored in a safe locked shed, not accessible to children. Only adults have access to the keys which are stored in the office.
¢ Some cleaning agents are stored in a padlocked cupboard in the catering kitchen. No child is given the code for this lock. The cleaner and teaching staff are aware of the code.
¢ Computers, televisions, other technologies stored safely in the strong room where appropriate. Heavy items such as the television are transported on a troll with wheel. Plugs, leads etc. are checked on a regular basis.
Some practical indicators of the success of the policy will be a decrease in the number of accidents.
Roles and Responsibility
The people who have particular responsibilities for aspects of the policy are;
” Board of Management; Margaret O;Grady Mary Conroy, Alan Gilsenan, Hilda Burton, Don Clarke Brian Cleary, Rebecca Candon and Rosie Ambrose.
” Safety Officer ; Rosie Ambrose
” Safety Representative; Rosie Ambrose
” Each member of staff; Mary Conroy, Rosie Ambrose, Declan Curry, Emma King, Nell Regan and Brighid Cullen.
These procedures will apply from the date upon which the Board of Management ratifies this policy.
Timetable for Review
The Health and Safety Statement will be reviewed biannually at the fourth staff meting of that year (held in term 2) and/or when any changes have been made to work practices, personnel, where a practice is no longer valid or under the direction from the HSA inspector.
Ratification & Communication
The Board of Management officially ratified the policy in October 2010.
The Health and Safety Statement will be communicated to the school community via the newsletter and the school website.