Risk assessment guidance and templates

Risk assessments (RAs) are often seen as a barrier to be able to 'just get on' with school activities or day to day working life. They're not! They are however a legal requirement, and actually, if viewed in a positive light, can be an 'enabler' rather than an obstruction. They also demonstrate, if carried out properly, communicated appropriately and consulted upon, that you as a school body are carrying out your duty of care for all relevant people. 
9 November 2020: Updates for schools - COVID-19 - Risk Assessments and Actions
The Government has brought out updated guidance for schools in light of tighter C19 controls in the UK. There is a document below (first in the grid) which guides schools as to the necessary amendments to their risk assessments. Please review your assessments immediately and ensure the new requirements are in place. Many thanks.
Please find below two new documents - an updated Guiding Principles to help you plan through the pandemic and an addition to the previous risk assessment to reflect the Government's updates on 28 August 2020. Any queries, contact Nina.
The Government has now issued its guidance for the full opening of schools in the autumn term.  We have produced a NEW RISK ASSESSMENT / CHECKLIST template, which is in the same format as the previous ones issued this term - please find it below. 
You MUST risk assess and plan for the full opening of your school.  There are also new Guidance Principles similar to the previous ones, and you can find those below as well.  Any questions on your risk assessment, please contact me at nina.bickerton@suffolk.gov.uk 
 In light of the Government updates, please ensure that you review your current ways of working regarding staff and children who are affected by shielding, and / or are in extremely vulnerable / vulnerable categories. Any questions or concerns can be directed to either the LA Safety, Health and Wellbeing Advisor at nina.bickerton@suffolk.gov.uk or the Schools Organisational Support Education Officers at EducationOfficersResolution@suffolk.gov.uk .

Guiding Principles (flow chart) for staff returning to work - SCHOOLS' CHOICE:

Please find below a guiding principles document to support senior school leaders and headteachers in making staffing decisions alongside the wider opening of schools. Your named HR consultant or the HR duty line (0345 606 6046 option 3) will be happy to discuss this chart with you and answer any further questions you might have.


In the documents below, you will find one called 'Individual Staff Risk Assessment - C19 - RTW'. This is a template for leaders to assess the safety of their returning staff, especially if they are in any of the vulnerable groups. It also should take into account where staff live in the same household as someone in a vulnerable group and are returning to work. Please ensure you use this template as a guide to determine the safety of your staff and of course the safety of your students and pupils.

"Risk assessment for managers" training workshops are available (for Heads, Bursars, Business Managers etc) - please see the Health and Safety Training page for details on how to book (menu to the left). Schools can also request specific RA training workshops for their own establishment, perhaps as part of a PD day or twilight session from Nina - these can be tailored to your own needs, as you may have a specific subject you want to go through, or train a lot of people at once. Just email nina.bickerton@suffolk.gov.uk for more details.

There are a number of documents on this page –

1) Example one of two types of risk matrix to help you judge the likelihood and severity of hazards, so you can grade the risk

2) Example two – another risk matrix – please do use which one you want! updated 15 May 2018

3) a list of advised topics for schools to base risk assessments on – updated 4 October 2019

4) the Health and Safety Executive's guidance on writing a risk assessment – including the ‘Five Steps’

5) a DSE self-assessment form for relevant staff to use at least yearly

6) a blank RA template for everyday activities (see the list of topics above)

7) a blank RA template for pupil behavioural issues (compile one assessment for the pupil’s safety and one for staff and other pupils’ safety)

8) another blank RA template for pupil behavioural issues with an Individual Support Plan (ISP) attached

9) a blank RA template for expectant and new mothers.

10) a special document uploaded on 8 February 2019 called 'Safety for Staff directing vehicles on school sites'. This is in response to the Suffolk Headlines (special edition) article regarding the potential for local protest about school transport.

11) Another new document uploaded on 15 May 2018 – this is a document signing sheet for when you communicate your risk assessments. All staff can sign this to say they have received and understood the document.

12) A pupil led / directed risk assessment template which has been used in a number of schools over the last year. This can help empower the pupil to see the risks they may be taking which could pose a danger to themselves or others. There’s been some good feedback on this. Worth a try, anyway.

13) A risk elimination sheet (Excel), specifically about PESSPA. It gives the school a chance to minimise paperwork but at the same time show exactly how they control risk in PE lessons by pointing to other procedures or protocols both in-house and from national organisations (e.g., AfPE).

14) and 15) NEW as of July 2020 - Two risk management documents which may be of use when you plan for risk controls looking at the wider picture. 

Where relevant, guidance notes are contained in each template and they all contain an action plan for further controls to reduce the risks.

You do not have to use these templates, you can use another type or alternatively you could tailor them to your own needs. What these do give you though is the complete ‘Five Steps’ as advised by the HSE.

A PEEP template plus guidance can be found on the Fire Precautions page (menu to the left).

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