All parts of a workplace should be safe to use, whether internal or external. This means that floors, walls, ceilings, playgrounds, car parks and sports areas should be designed, built and maintained so that they do not pose a risk to users of the site.
Systematic maintenance of the workplace and equipment should be in place to keep the building in an efficient state and equipment in good working order.
The introduction of a proactive maintenance system should include:
regular maintenance and, if necessary, inspection, testing, adjustment, lubrication and cleaning
potential defects being remedied and access to defective equipment prevented in the meantime
regular maintenance and remedial work being carried out, with a record kept.
To ensure that these standards are achieved, regular inspections should take place. These can be carried out by delegated persons within the school or college, or by external/LA health and safety advisers. Inspections are usually undertaken by people with some health and safety training. Safety representatives may accompany managers or health and safety advisers on the inspections or carry out inspections in their own right.
A walk round the building to identify hazards and defects normally takes place, and recommendations are made to address the risks found. Checks should be made, for example, on:
the records for fire alarm systems
statutory checks for lifting equipment /passenger lifts
portable appliance test dates.
It is worth remembering that the most common types of injuries across the UK are slips, trips and falls. Strict attention to maintenance and cleaning can play a vital role in reducing this risk.
Pro-formas or checklists can be helpful during inspections, and these should be adapted according to the area to be checked. Very often safety advisers will have a pre-printed form that highlights the main areas to check and which acts as a prompt for asking questions of managers and staff.
Inspection checklists can be broad-based or can even be a detailed room checklist, which can look at every aspect of safety in the building in great detail.
For an example of an inspection checklist, which also lists examples of the kinds of comments that might be noted, download the Word document in the 'See also' list to the right of this page.
Need further advice?
Your first point of contact is your ATL rep in your school or college. Your local ATL branch is also available to help with queries, or you can contact ATL's member advisors on tel: 020 7930 6441 or email us. Please have your membership number to hand when telephoning and include it with any correspondence - this will help us to answer your query more quickly.