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.