Welcome Guest! The IOSH forums are a free resource to both members and non-members. Login or register to use them

Postings made by forum users are personal opinions. IOSH is not responsible for the content or accuracy of any of the information contained in forum postings. Please carefully consider any advice you receive.

Notification

Icon
Error

Options
Go to last post Go to first unread
clane  
#1 Posted : 25 November 2021 12:03:44(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
clane

Morning,

I've been selected for interview for a H&S/Compliance Officer position working for an LA covering potentially 2/3 schools (primary and/or secondary). I've not worked within the educational sector previously and wondered what areas should I be focusing on in prep for the interview? Are there any particular areas/subjects that I should be paying particular attention to at the moment besides COVID? I was thinking that Facilities & Estates Managment would be of high interest, all things fire related, COSHH, safeguarding responsibilities, maybe design and technology concerns surrounding the application of PUWER.

Thanks in advance.   

peter gotch  
#2 Posted : 25 November 2021 17:24:25(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Hi clane - I would first check the job description and get as much feel as possible about how this LA resources H&S/compliance posts for its schools, as I doubt that there are many who only give such a person only two or three schools (even if secondary) to worry about.

In terms of hot topics, all that you mention + control of contractors/CDM, asbestos, work at heights (roofers, painters etc), grounds maintenance, water hygiene (especially legionella), segregation of vehicles and pedestrians to name a few.

Good luck, Peter

chris42  
#3 Posted : 26 November 2021 08:47:29(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris42

When doing internet searches in the past on a particular topic I have noted that universities sometimes, put their H&S info online. Not sure if schools do the same. As the average 6 year old is probably better behaved than the average 18 year old and they would have similar issues, may be worth a search.

Just a suggestion.

Chris

A Kurdziel  
#4 Posted : 26 November 2021 12:45:43(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

OK it depends on the LEA and how they run their schools. You might be expect to overall all aspects of  H&S right down to individual lessons including practical classes or  you are mainly responsible simply for the fabric of the buildings and possible the safety of staff but not the students, or some vague in between.

Schools and colleges are different as most of the people on site are not employees and as such you have less direct control over them. They are  also kids, and you can’t simply engage them with some power points and/or toolbox talks. In many schools the teaching staff would not want an outsider  getting involved directly with students, but you still need to take into account student activities in the school both legitimate; using power tools in a workshop and not legitimate eg smoking behind the bike sheds and hiding the butts behind hardboard walls(see Displays in School Corridors thread).

Oh yes…covid is still a live issue.

Hayley_777  
#5 Posted : 26 November 2021 12:54:19(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Hayley_777

Dont forget intuder threat/security also, especially for the younger school aged people.

hopeful  
#6 Posted : 26 November 2021 13:01:54(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
hopeful

Specifically for schools consider 3rd party management/approval for trips, whether a day or week away - how do they manage the children getting there, vehicle risks etc. Enrichment activities on site - forest schools are all the rage, breakfast and after school clubs and holiday clubs - sometimes by a 3rd party and sometimes by the school.

Traffic management if there is an onsite carpark and security.

SammyK  
#7 Posted : 26 November 2021 14:47:38(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
SammyK

when we have been working on site at schools doing construction work- we have often had the H&S advisor for the LA (Hampshire council) do spot checks on us- maybe look into what you would do should construction work happen on school property during school hours and children there. 

that would be ensuring contractors have PPE etc on- their RAMs- who the appointed first aider is, whether the compound is secure etc! 

Good luck- please let us know how you get on! 

Sammy 

clane  
#8 Posted : 26 November 2021 15:03:51(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
clane

Many thanks all for your very helpful replies. 

It seems there is far more to consider that initially meets the eye.

I guess when you are considering venturing into a new industry there is an element of excitment coupled with anxiety but I suppose that is to be expected, but let's not jump the gun hey.....

The principles of h&s remain the same wherever you work I suppose I just have to broaden my reach and  horizons!

Connor35037  
#9 Posted : 26 November 2021 15:53:52(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Connor35037

You may also wish to consider

  • Administration of medicines (pupils that may need medication while at school)
  • Violence at work (some schools have classes for pupils with additional support needs)
  • Fire evacuation including the possibility that personal emergency evacuation plans may be needed
  • Outdoor play equipment-who checks it and maintains it
firesafety101  
#10 Posted : 27 November 2021 01:06:21(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
firesafety101

I think you should just concentrate on your qualifications and experience of health and fire safety.  No point second guessing what they may want unless they have put that into their requirements.

Just prepare yourself for their questions on the 'what ifs' and I leave that to you own imagination.

peter gotch  
#11 Posted : 27 November 2021 15:50:59(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

clane

As you say the principles apply whatever the sector.

When I joined HSE, they had a policy (which for some reason they have forgotten - don't know why as the policy was very sound) that a new Inspector was not allowed near the sector they had previously worked in until all their preconceptions of what was acceptable "custom and practice" had been firmly put to bed.

HSE took the view that a competent Inspector (or any other OSH professional) should be able to apply their skills, knowledge and experience to ANY sector. 

...and we get shifted around from sector to sector to make sure that we didn't get stale.

So, as example, I applied what I learned from steelmaking and food production to construction projects.

Dave5705  
#12 Posted : 01 December 2021 17:37:38(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Dave5705

Clane, hope it's not too late to chip in, but I too was a little confused about the role you describe, normally you might expect to be given responsibility for one or more sites as an addition to another role, maybe facilities management. Who is interviewing and who would you be working for?

In general, my experience is that Head Teachers are no more or less committed to H&S than any other leader, strange when you think they have such a duty of care. Many just want you to 'complete risk assessments (i.e. fill in the form they cribbed off another school so they can file it and ignore it) and are just annoyed you won't let them store archive papers in the plant room! Others I've worked for have been a dream and totally committed to staff and child safety. It's a melting pot.

If it is a more general role for the council I would find out who you would be working for, what their role is, and do your research. 

If you have more info come back and fill in the picture, maybe there is more we can say...

Users browsing this topic
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.