A Guide to Safe Practice in Art & Design

2.5   Risk Assessments

Employers are required under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999) to undertake an assessment of risks in the work place. In schools, this function may be delegated to the headteacher or head of department. There is a clearly defined process which must be followed in carrying out a risk -assessment, including:

  • identifying the hazards;
  • assessing the risks;
  • assigning priority to the risks ;
  • deciding whether they are properly controlled or whether further action is needed;
  • making a written record of the assessment.

In practice, a risk assessment is nothing more than a careful examination of what in the school could cause harm to pupils or staff. In the art and design department you will need to decide whether you have taken sufficient precautions to avoid accidents or whether further preventative measures need to be introduced. Reasonable steps should be taken to ensure that potential hazards are removed and risks are controlled to minimise the likelihood of harm to staff and pupils. Once the examination of hazards and risks has been carried out you must record your findings, including how the assessment was done, what checks were made, how hazards were dealt with, what precautions were taken, and what further action may be necessary.

Health & Safety Executive free guidance on risk assessment Five Steps to risk Assessment is available at www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg163.pdf.