Holidays are perfect time for schools to get on top of health and safety

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Many people will assume that our schools have sprung back to life during the past few weeks after lying dormant for the summer.

Whilst it’s true that for the first time in weeks they are now filled with students again, many schools will have had an equally busy time over the holidays.

The holidays offer schools the perfect opportunity to undergo deep cleans, disruptive work – such as building projects and asbestos-related projects – and to make sure they are up-to-date with their health and safety requirements.

Over this summer, we have been working as a Principal Contractor and Principal Designer consultant for works on two schools. Both had deadlines to complete large extensions by end of August which proved difficult for the contractors as, due to the pandemic, materials were in short or late supply. This meant that as the programme went on, more trades were working closely together but with our support they were able to ensure that no one’s safety was compromised.

It’s no surprise that lots of schools turn to us when they have building work going on. We have a huge amount of experience of working as CDM (Construction, Design and Management) Consultants and CDM Advisors which enables our clients to relax in the knowledge that with our help they are meeting all the requirements of the CDM regulations.

This summer, we also visited another school to carry out a review of their Health and Safety policies to ensure they were in order for the start of the new term. We informed the school where they were getting health and safety right and gave them comprehensive advice on how to improve their health and safety policies further. The school was very pleased with our work and we’re delighted to have been asked to work with two more schools in the same group which also want us to review their Health and Safety policies.

It really is a smart decision for schools and other organisations to work with health and safety experts on their policies because health and safety legislation encompasses all areas of the workplace. It can be pretty daunting to tackle that as a school or a business owner – many organisations simply don’t have the time to deal with health and safety on top of their normal duties. Even those that do try may still fail to comply with all aspects of health and safety law and run the risk of being prosecuted.

We are proud to say that Acorn Safety Services is recognised as a leading Health and Safety Consultancy in the UK and has more than 40 years of experience. With our unrivalled expertise, our Health and Safety Consultants can provide our clients with unparalleled service to help them find solutions for their business needs.

We can assist clients with any health and safety service and our experienced team will work closely with clients to identify risks in their workplace, provide advice on how they can be controlled and ensure that our clients successfully meet the required standards.

The reason we are so successful and in such demand from schools and businesses is simple – every one of our team is passionate about health and safety. We want to make workplaces of all shapes and sizes as safe as possible for everyone who uses them.

Health and safety laws are sometimes dismissed as stifling red tape but there is no doubt that they make our country a safer place to work. Sadly, when an aspect of health and safety isn’t adhered to the outcome can be grave.

All this talk of schools reminds us of a case which was heard at Wigan and Leigh Courthouse this summer. The court heard that on 26 June 2017, a number of pupils at Manchester Grammar School became unwell during an on-site scuba diving course in the school swimming pool.

During the lesson the pupils had breathed in contaminated compressed air. Twelve pupils were taken to hospital with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning. One 14-year-old boy was put into an induced coma and another pupil was also in a serious condition.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) along with Greater Manchester Police, found the dive training staff had obtained refills to SCUBA cylinders supplied by Aqua Logistics Limited.

Aqua Logistics Limited and their sole director Geoffrey Gordon Shearn had not correctly installed and maintained the high-pressure compressor system. A fire in the filtration system resulted in contaminated air being supplied to YU Diving who were teaching the school children basic SCUBA diving skills.

Aqua Logistics Limited of Enterprise Centre Two, Chester Street, Stockport, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £9,300 and ordered to pay £11,000 costs.

Sole director Geoffrey Gordon Shearn, of Chester Road, Stockport, pleaded guilty to breaching section 37 of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was given a 12-month community order with requirement for 100 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £5,000 costs.

If you, your school or your workplace needs help with health and safety we are always happy to help.For all your health and safety needs visit https://acornhealthandsafety.co.uk/ or contact us at info@acornhealthandsafety.co.uk or on 01604 930380

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