HSE Spot Checks – Feedback

You’ll be aware of the programme of HSE spot checks which took place within schools last year. Whilst we are not aware of any recent visits within Northumberland, we have some wider feedback from national visits which we’d like to share with you. We’ve included some common areas of concern and suggestions of control measures to consider:

Common issues:
• Social distancing in staff rooms – look at limiting the number of staff using the space at any one time to make it easier to maintain 2m distancing. Check seating arrangements – chairs should be 2m. May need to take some chairs out of use.
• Cleaning regimes – enhanced additional cleaning regimes should still be in place. In particular, frequently touched areas/shared areas and shared equipment.
• Lack of Ventilation – see H&S FAQ and Covid risk assessment.
• Where generic risk assessments are used these were lacking specific detail about the arrangements in place within school. The model assessments provided by the Corporate H&S Team are general as they need to be relevant to a number of different school types and sizes, whilst in reality the arrangements within each school will be different. It’s important to ensure that school risk assessments record the specific arrangements in place at your school. During visits, HSE may cross check your risk assessment with the covid controls you have in place.
• Lack of effective systems for regular monitoring and review of risk assessments – Covid controls should be monitored regularly to ensure they’re being complied with and are effective. Ask staff for feedback, include discussion of covid controls within staff meetings. Keep your risk assessment under review and update it as necessary. Share revisions with staff/unions.
• Fire doors being propped open to aid ventilation – see H&S FAQ and Covid model risk assessment.
• Inappropriate rooms being used for isolating suspected cases – ideally pupils should be in a separate room away from others.
• Inadequate arrangements for managing external visitors or contractors – visitor forms/checklists are available. Essential visitors only; appointments made prior to visit where possible; visitors asked not to attend if they are symptomatic or anyone in their household is symptomatic.

Covid controls commended:
• Use of classroom seating plans to help with self isolation measures – also think about this for canteens if possible.
• A click-and-collect app to purchase food from the canteen to reduce queues and avoid crowding.
• Brightly coloured floor markings in playgrounds to encourage 2m social distancing during drop-off and collection times
• A video walk through for pupils and parents explaining COVID-secure arrangements.

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