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Risk assessments for school trips to a Fife chemical plant need to be “improved” after “weaknesses” were found, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said. ExxonMobil’s pond dipping classes at Mossmorran need to be “appropriately managed”, the regulator said…

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SOUTHALLS COMMENT:

A local authority was recently criticised by the HSE when a review of its school trip risk assessments was undertaken. The HSE found that the local authority had produced generic risk assessments which had failed to consider site-specific risks. Mossmorran operated by ExxonMobil is a COMAH site (Control of Major Accidents Hazards), which necessitates the issuing of clear instructions on what to do in the unlikely event of a major incident occurring. All parties, including those visiting the site on school trips, should receive this information.

Our advice when undertaking school trips is to ensure that you have adequately planned the excursion. Engage with the operator of the site to explore possible problems and develop solutions, or undertake preliminary checks on outdoor spaces used for fieldwork to assess suitability. Ensure that you have adequate supervision of students, and make sure that you have talked about site risks with the children, and how they should keep safe.

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A three-year-old child suffered severe burns after sitting in a puddle of corrosive cleaning fluid while learning to swim in Colchester, a court heard. First Strokes Swim Schools Ltd, which operates a purpose-built teaching pool in Stanway, Colchester, pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court today to breaching three health and safety offences and failing to comply with two improvement notices, following the poolside incident on May 22, 2018…

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SOUTHALLS COMMENT:

A three-year-old child attending a swimming class in Chelmsford sustained burns to her leg after she sat in a puddle of corrosive cleaning fluid. The company involved had engaged a contractor to maintain the swimming pool earlier in the day, and an unknown dose of the company’s own sodium hypochlorite had been poured into each pool. A small amount of the concentrated chemical had spilt on the side of the pool, where the child later sat. It was found that the company failed to undertake COSHH assessments and did not have a safe system of work for hand dosing the pool with water treatment chemicals.

Where hazardous substances are used on your site, you must try to eliminate their use or substitute them with something safer. Where this cannot be achieved, you must put in place the principles of good control practice, and document this within a COSHH assessment. Controls may include the provision of training and information to your employees, the issuing of personal protective equipment, or the use of automatic dosing equipment.