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#1 Posted : 07 August 2019 08:40:36(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

Hi all

Having many years of experience within manufacturing and small construction projects, I've now been offered the opportunity to move over to the education sector. Looking after a number of further education colleges (not accepted position yet).

My question is I feel this sector would be considered fairly low risk to what I've been used to and would it be the right move? so if any of you work in this sector let me know your thoughts on activites you have to carryout daily and what kind of risks do you encounter. Any information much appreciated.


#2 Posted : 07 August 2019 08:46:29(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

I'm in the same sort of position. Most of my clients are FM based but I've been approached by 2 seperate private schools to come in and look after their risk management. Both schools have a RM in place but they want  to provide support to him. Having a meeting tomorrow with 1 of them. Going to be completely different to my normal work environment

#3 Posted : 07 August 2019 09:42:12(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

  Not sure if this helps- My spouse works in a couple of schools doing outdoor events. Safety management is based on a system callecd Evolve, might be worth a look.

  Based on his experience, the H&S of staff and teachers is treated far less seriously than that of the pupils- to the point where he was told by the safety advisor that DSE regs don't apply and there does not seem to be any A&I reporting or recording requirements for staff.

Nelly13 let us know how it goes, itcould be fun

A Kurdziel  
#4 Posted : 07 August 2019 11:48:06(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

I work in the HE sector but my experience of the past 3 years may provide some insights

You can’t really cannot assume that the work is ‘low risk’ compared to manufacturing. There are several reasons for this.

  1. Colleges carry out a wide variety of activities; it’s not just classroom based. There may be workshops, where this will be using machinery and welding, laboratories where they might be using chemicals or microorganisms, they could be working on farms and dealing with animals. This as well all of the normal office-based stuff like including DSE and fire safety.
  2. The buildings can be a challenge. Many date back to the sixties or even earlier. They could be full of asbestos and an aging building fabric. They will need to be adapted for modern demands and compromises will need to be made. Your job would be to make sure that those compromises are not safety compromises
  3. You are dealing with students. The usual answer to answer to Health and Safety issues in a normal workplace is to check people’s competence. The whole point of a college is to take people who know nothing and transform them into competent workers. The sort of things that you can assume that employees do, students will probably initially not do. In have seen students in chemistry classes sticking their faces into beakers to smell what is going on. They simply don’t know any better and need to managed in a particular way. But you cannot wrap them in cotton wool and not expose them to any risk.  The whole point is for them to learn how to do it safely without exposing themselves to excessive risks. An interesting challenge
  4. Issues with staff with teaching staff often jot seeing Health and Safety as their responsibility
  5. Trying to do things on a shoestring budget. The drivers in  the education sector are complicated and not simply down to profit and loss

Overall a challenging sector but I think potentially very interesting  



Edited by user 07 August 2019 13:22:09(UTC)  | Reason: actually writing in English

thanks 5 users thanked A Kurdziel for this useful post.
Natasha.Graham on 07/08/2019(UTC), CptBeaky on 07/08/2019(UTC), Martin Fieldingt on 07/08/2019(UTC), KEITH ROWSON on 11/08/2019(UTC), Dave5705 on 15/08/2019(UTC)
#5 Posted : 07 August 2019 12:10:27(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

A Kurdziel

My thoughts exactly! One of my friends (with whom I completed my Diploma) with worked in HE and she found it challenging but loved it! 

Edited by user 07 August 2019 12:11:00(UTC)  | Reason: Missed a word

#6 Posted : 07 August 2019 13:09:23(UTC)
Rank: New forum user


You would have alots to do in the education sector. there will be facility management which you will need to check competence of the staff and compliance to applicable HSE management system. The condition of the facilites also would be another area that you will have more work to do: new construction and maintenance. chemical handling, asbestos handling and staff exposure to all kind of hazards.

There are lots to keep you busy..

#7 Posted : 11 August 2019 20:30:22(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

I worked in the Construction Dept of a large FE College as a lecturer in both Construction and H&S and I agree with A Kurdziel and add. In FE the students are at the age of 16 plus so they can be very naive when it comes to risks and believe themselves to be indestructible. I was also the Union Rep (Safety Representatives & Safety Committees Regulations 1977) working with management students and staff. To say it was challenging was an understatement, the mix of students as explained, staff who believed they were in a safe environment and often outdated in regard legislation coupled with stringent budgets from management magnified any problems. We had an issue with Respirible Crystalline Silica in the brickwork Dept, and everyone laughed it off until they saw the results of the Occupational Hygienist which showed six students above the WEL and two staff. Trying to ban the brush a simple but effective solution to part of the problem was difficult to say the least. A brief insight into college life in regard H&S, it is extremely interesting and never a dull moment and don't ever believe it is a safe working environment, as Lecturers we are tasked with trying to replicate real working conditions in a workshop environment. Therefore if you do your job correctly hazards will be introduced that have to be controlled.
thanks 1 user thanked KEITH ROWSON for this useful post.
A Kurdziel on 12/08/2019(UTC)
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