Everything You Need To Know About School Equipment, Maintenance and Safety

Everything You Need To Know About School Maintenance, Equipment & Safety

Caroline Lee

Your students can only thrive in a safe environment. A tailored, comprehensive health and safety plan keeps your school community protected while allowing them to push the boundaries of learning. Here's everything you need to know about school equipment, maintenance and safety:

Grounds maintenance

From break time to the big match, your grounds and green spaces are central to student activity, so it’s essential they’re play-proof. Safety starts with the right training and tools for your caretakers – and a commitment to risk prevention across the entire school community.

  • Don’t cut corners on maintenance. Service and repair equipment and power tools – such as mowers, strimmers, and hedge trimmers – in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations and guard all moving parts appropriately to prevent injury.
  • Train all relevant employees on the safe operation of equipment and ensure standards are upheld in line with manufacturer’s guidance. Provide regular refresher training and include instruction and safety demos in your onboarding process for new staff.
  • Provide suitably-fitted personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, eye protection, safety boots and warm clothing.
  • Store all machinery, power tools and harmful substances in locked areas that are inaccessible to pupils, trespassers or unauthorised personnel.
  • Reduce the risk of exposure to toxins by adhering to COSHH regulations covering the handling, storage and use of weed killers and pesticides.

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Design and technology equipment

A hands-on subject needs a hands-on safety approach, which means recommended weekly reviews of D&T tools and equipment. Give teachers and students complete confidence in their environment with a tick list of key workshop compliance measures.

  • Follow manufacturer’s advice for equipment maintenance and inspections. 
  • Only allow pupils to access and use equipment while under a teacher’s instruction and supervision.
  • Keep all moving parts adequately guarded.
  • Install dust extraction fixtures on wood working machinery and ensure a competent engineer carries out thorough examinations every 14 months.
  • To minimise asthma risk and complications, train staff to take adequate precautions when changing dust bags. This includes using a disposable dust mask and eliminating dry sweeping.

PE and play equipment

By law, you’re required to carry out reviews of PE apparatus and play equipment, but a more proactive approach can considerably reduce accident risks. We advise looking for wear and tear as part of your regular maintenance schedule, inspecting and recording the condition of equipment and immediately removing damaged items from use. 

Keep an eye out for common red flags, including:  

  •       The build-up of slippery moss on paving, steps and climbing areas
  •       Soft flooring surfaces that fail to meet British standards
  •       Low sand or bark levels in play areas and below playground equipment 
  •       Sharp edges and bolts
  •       Trip hazards caused by uneven rubber flooring

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Gas appliances

Gas appliances such as Bunsen burners are key ingredients in your chemistry lab but fume and fire risks require constant vigilance. Ensure you have the correct preventative measures in place – and an airtight action plan for dealing with emergencies. 

  • Strictly adhere to annual gas safety check requirements. These should cover appliances such as ovens and boilers and be conducted by a gas-safe registered engineer.
  • Train technicians to carry out frequent visual checks on tubing and Bunsen burners and install an emergency gas shut-off switch in your lab.
  • Carry out safety assessments on fume cupboards every 14 months to ensure your science suite’s LEV equipment is in full working order.
  • Keep chemistry and technicians’ labs locked when not in use.

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Want to learn more...?

Southalls offers a range of safety management programs for schools across the UK and internationally. To book a free software demonstration or a consultation, or to simply learn more about how we can help you to protect your school, pupils and employees, visit us now here.

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