Staff returning to schools following a long period at home are at increased risk of injury as they may be less familiar with the hazards located within their school. This article has been designed to remind staff returning to school of the control measures they must follow to be safe at work.
Now that staff are back in school it is essential everyone continues to follow the rules we have put in place to ensure we prevent the spread of COVID-19. Whilst the number of staff with vaccinations is increasing all staff must continue to follow the rules below to ensure staff, students and visitors remain safe:
- Staff who are shielding are currently expected to continue shielding, even if they have received a vaccine.
- Any staff including those who have received either the first or second COVID-19 vaccination are required to comply with social distancing rules and follow the control measures contained within our COVID-19 risk assessment.
- All staff must continue to self-isolate immediately if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 or return a positive test, whether or not they have been vaccinated.
- Social distancing rules remain in place for all staff, and you are reminded to remain vigilant and follow this at all times. Close contact work must be avoided as much as possible. If you do car share with someone else to get to work you must let us know.
- Face coverings must be worn where required as per our risk assessment.
- All staff and students must continue to regularly wash their hands and use the hand sanitisers provided.
- The regular cleaning of common contact points remains critical, this includes printers, photocopiers, pump/pallet trucks and vehicle/machinery controls.
- Care must be taken when outside to ensure social distancing is maintained between adults and between bubbles at all times, including during lunch times and in the event of a fire drill.
- Social distancing must be maintained during breaks and when using communal spaces such as staff rooms.
- Use hand sanitiser first when using kitchen facilities, after use wipe down contact points with sanitising wipes provided e.g. kettles, microwaves and fridge handles.
- Only make drinks for yourself, do not make drinks for other staff.
- Do not breach social distancing when having staff meetings – use larger rooms or hold the meetings remotely via video conferencing software.
Site Changes and Emergency Procedures
Some staff may not have been on site for several months, the operation and layout of some of our sites have changed and there may be changes to emergency procedures. You will be advised if you are likely to be affected by any changes to the layout or emergency arrangements at school. If you have any questions on changes please let your line manager know.
Health and Safety Hazards
Whilst COVID-19 remains a priority for our school, there has over the past year been a spike in accidents and injuries within many sectors. This has been attributed to employees paying insufficient attention to other hazards. All staff are reminded that we do undertake high-risk activities at our school. You may be asked to complete the Health and Safety Handbook quiz on Safety Cloud to refresh your knowledge of the hazards present on site. If you do have any questions you can refer to the handbook or ask your line manager.
Near miss reporting continues to be key to ensure our workplace is as safe as possible. You are reminded of the importance of reporting near misses – if something looks wrong then report it.
You may have taken office equipment home which now needs to be returned. Your workstation setup will need reviewing so you should undertake a DSE Assessment on Safety Cloud to help identify anything you are missing or any changes which may need to be made to assist you.
Use of PPE
The use of PPE continues to be a critical control in many parts of our school. If you cannot find or need to replace PPE please let your line manager know immediately and replacement PPE will be provided for you.
Mental Health Awareness
The pandemic has had an adverse impact on all of us, some have been affected more by personal circumstances and the challenges they have faced. We acknowledge mental health is important and have provided all staff with access to mental health awareness e-learning on Safety Cloud. We encourage all staff to complete the e-learning module and to advise either their line manager or a member of the senior leadership team if they have any concerns or would like help accessing mental health support.