Don’t wrap kids in cotton wool, say health and safety chiefs - Palmers Solicitors

Don’t wrap kids in cotton wool, say health and safety chiefs

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has urged school leaders to strike the right balance in their approach to health and safety risks.

Coinciding with the start of the new school year, the HSE published new web-based guidance on 3 September, designed to encourage school leaders to avoid being risk averse.

The HSE’s Myth Busters Challenge Panel provides a mechanism for challenging advice or decisions, seemingly made in the name of health and safety, which are believed to be disproportionate or inaccurate. The panel has ruled on a number of school bans, including the wearing of frilly socks, hot drinks on school trips and “dangerous” footballs.

Geoff Cox, head of the HSE’s public services sector team, said: “Our myth busting shows that schools sometimes go over the top in their efforts to get health and safety right – but in some cases they don’t go far enough.

“We want to encourage school managers to use this guidance to find their own Goldilocks approach – not too much, not too little, but just the right balance. Real risks need to be managed, but that doesn’t mean wrapping children in cotton wool.”

The HSE consulted with local government and education stakeholders, the teaching unions and schools’ health and safety managers to develop the guidance.

Palmers can provide expert advice to schools on all aspects of health and safety compliance, to protect the health and well-being of pupils, staff, parents and visitors, so that real risks are managed effectively without diminishing learning opportunities and placing unnecessary restrictions on school life.

For more information on our health and safety compliance services, please contact Lara Murray and for health and safety representation, please contact Jeremy Sirrell.