Schools trips essential for education says HSE

The Chair of the Health and Safety Commission has urged teachers to take a sensible approach to risk assessment, in order to ensure that school trips remain a part of every child's education.

Speaking at the NASUWT conference fringe meeting in Birmingham yesterday evening, Judith Hackitt said, "School trips are an essential part of every child's education and by not finding a way to make them happen we are failing in our duty to prepare them for life."

"Health and safety is used by many as an excuse for not doing things. My message is to take a common sense and proportionate approach when managing the health and safety aspects of organising a school trip. Share good practice with colleagues, reams of paper work is rarely the way to effective safety management."

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched its sensible risk campaign to encourage a simple and practical approach to risk assessment which enables innovation and learning. The campaign aims to encourage important recreational and learning activities for individuals where the risks are sensibly managed.

For more info visit the BMC website

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28 Mar, 2008
The impression I've always had, rightly or wrongly is that the H&S E themselves are sensible and pragmatic. It all falls down when company managers/ councils etc.. start interpreting H&S guidelines as black and white rules.
28 Mar, 2008
Kids at our school now banned from playing a really dangerous game. Tig. I kid you not.
28 Mar, 2008
But will the management and LEA support school teachers if it all goes pearshaped and the proverbial hits the fan. BUT thats where LEA centres come in with their tried and tested procedures and qualified and experienced staff. But who checks out the bits in between and pays for supply teachers etc if its not year groups etc etc....
28 Mar, 2008
Absolutely right IMO. I work offshore fairly often and we are snowed under by people who slap "safety" into their job title and go insane. i.e we were repremanded for working at height without a harness, inertial reel etc because we were standing on a 12" wide beam running along the deck which was a good 8" tall - death trap apparently. HSEs view when the incident was raised during an audit was that it was just plain daft to apply working at height and that the Safety officer was in fact undermining safety by trivialising it. Safety officers justification was that there is no "safe" height listed so anything off the deck is covered.... as you say, interpreting guidance as a black and white rule to be applied regardless of common sense. good to hear the HSE speaking out against the kill joys, high time that anyone wanting to become responsible for 'elf and safety was trained in how to apply the guidelines intelligently and rationally rather than blindly and without thought. By someone outside of and independant to their organisation/company etc as well interestingly offshore, the Dive and ROV vessels seem to have a much more common sense approach than installations despite being subject to the same, or in many cases more extreme safety regulations. I've found this to be true regarless of the operator or owner of the vessels too. Stuart
28 Mar, 2008
Still, if they really want teachers to take kids out they will have to make things even simpler. It needs to be reminded that teachers organize stuff on, mostly, a voluntary bases. It comes added to their workload and for most they don't think twice about it. However, I have taken a wee trip down the links and it still took me 30 mn to scan the thing, just to come to the conclusion that I will have to spend about 2/3 days thinking about how some kid could slip and trip themselves at the crag. I don't know about you but I can think of about a thousand ways to slip and trip yourself at a crag. Then I'm told I need to list actions to be undertaken to avoid said trips. Then I need to review said actions and see if effective (by then I still haven't had the satisfaction to see the kids out, yet I have given out days of my free time). So dear Judith Hackitt if you want to see kids grow into balanced adults let them learn not to trip themselves on the obvious boulder. If they do let them learn from their mistakes... it's fecking sore not to look out for said boulder. And finally, let me tell you: I am a teacher, but that come third in my life, after my family and my climbing and I would rather use my free time to go on climbing trips. THANK YOU VERY MUCH Next time, they may save themselves the expenses of giving a big do and not come up with such patronizing sh*te aimed at making people feel guilty about how kids can't do all this things anymore. Accept that common sense rules and yet shit happens do so!!! Mille millions de mille sabord! Crenom d'une pipe!!
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