A Positive Safety Initiative by an Authority

by Dave Collins on February 3, 2014

in Positive Safety Stuff,Risk Aversion

A Positive Safety Initiative by an Authority – Sort of!

common senseJust when we had given up hope that Authorities would ever get that convoluted systems, overwhelming paperwork and more rules only create more risk and not the intended positive culture,  some news from the UK Department For Education. Departmental advice on health and safety for schools. In defence of these authorities, much of the fear and assumptions are based on myths perpetrated by the overzealous or whomever had an interest in doing so. Our mostly non-prescriptive safety regulations don’t say much about being risk averse or having complicated systems. That has just evolved in response to the myths. Image Source

There is, of course, an over-use of the term “Common Sense” – a very ill-defined and subjective term that has been rolling off the tongue of UK Regulators of late.  (Read here why why the words and discourse of “Common Sense” are dangerous)

DOWNLOAD THE DOCUMENT HERE: Health and safety – Advice on Legal Duties and Powers:


Some of the positive quotes from the paper:

  • The Government is determined to reduce burdens on schools. We want to simplify health and safety requirements and explain them better. The Government is making it easier for schools to take pupils on trips, removing paperwork and taking steps to reduce teachers’ fears of legal action. Teachers should be confident that they know best how to look after pupils and keep them safe.
  • School employers should always take a common sense and proportionate approach, remembering that in schools risk assessment and risk management are tools to enable children to undertake activities safely, and not prevent activities from taking place. Sensible risk management cannot remove risk altogether but it should avoid needless or unhelpful paperwork.
  • schools need not carry out a risk assessment every time they undertake an activity that usually forms part of the school day, for example, taking pupils to a local venue which it frequently visits, such as a swimming pool, park, or place of worship. Any risks of these routine activities should already have been considered when agreeing the school’s general health and safety policies and procedures. A regular check to make sure
    the precautions remain suitable is all that is required.
  • Children should be able to experience a wide range of activities. Health and safety measures should help them to do this safely, not stop them.
  • It is important that children learn to understand and manage the risks that are a normal part of life.
  • Common sense should be used in assessing and managing the risks of any activity.
  • Health and safety procedures should always be proportionate to the risks of an activity.
  • Staff should be given the training they need so they can keep themselves and children safe and manage risks effectively.

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