Health and Safety – whatever happened to common sense? (Local authority advice)


I was forwarded a copy of the email sent to site managers/heads across my local authority.   It seems we live in an age when no-one can take risks, and common sense cannot be left to the individual.

These are some of the pearls of wisdom offered to site managers and heads:

  • Details should be drawn to the attention of all employees working on the premises so they are aware of the safest ways of entering and leaving the premises.
  • Arrangements should be made for access routes to be inspected regularly following the salting and gritting to monitor its effectiveness. It is recommended that this is done before the end of each session. PLEASE NOTE: TEMPORARY SIGNS DENOTING SAFE ROUTES MAY BE NECESSARY.
  • All staff should be reminded of the need to wear appropriate footwear when coming to work in severe weather conditions as it will seldom be possible to clear all snow and ice from a site. In particular, walking from a parked car to the nearest access path may be hazardous.
  • In the past, there has been at least one instance of pupils in a first school picking some crystalline salt granules off the playground and tasting them, thinking they were snow or ice particles. Heads of Establishments with young children are therefore advised to purchase salt/grit mixture rather than pure crystalline salt for treating icy surfaces. Children should be warned accordingly.
  • Suitable clothing, particularly for caretakers who will be working outside, should be used
  • Ensure that there is a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for snow and ice clearing activities

Do we live in a society where individuals have no common sense?  Do we live in a society where we want to remove each and every risk, no matter how small?  Do we live in a society where school managers (and the LA) are frightened of being sued?  I suspect the answer to all these questions is yes – and until there is a change of culture we will continue to be treated like a nation of children.


Published by Rob Butler

Ex-science teacher, ex-school leader and full-time geek.

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