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    How common are accidents in schools?

    Published on: 13/08/2013

    According to data from the Office for National Statistics less than half of one per cent of the 1,632,000 people working in UK public sector education suffered a workplace injury in 2010-2011 – and fortunately many of these did not require any medical treatment. That doesn’t sound too horrendous on the face of it but statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for the same period reveal a more downbeat picture of health and safety in our schools.

    In 2010-11 just over seven thousand injuries were suffered by people working in schools that were serious enough to be reportable under the HSE’s Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995( RIDDOR). Of those, nearly two thousand were classified as serious injuries such as fractures of major bones and other life threatening and sometimes life changing injuries. Whilst that averages out at one RIDDOR reportable injury at one in every five of the UK’s schools, it also represents seven thousand too many injuries in a sector that most people naturally feel should be leading the nation in compliance with health and safety regulations and one in which staff and student safety amounts to far more than a box ticking exercise.

    As far as the causes of accidents go, schools mirror the statistical trends in most other employment sectors. The ‘usual suspects’, slips, trips and falls and manual handling top the league table, with many thousands reported annually and following behind them other causes such a being hit by moving falling or flying objects, physical assaults and exposure to hazardous substances, all accounting for many hundreds of RIDDOR reports each year.

    Comparatively speaking, working in schools there is a relatively low risk of injury in the course of your employment, but due to the nature of the work undertaken there and presence of so many pupils with undeveloped health and safety awareness, there is an on-going and urgent requirement for the current levels of accidents in this sector to decline further.

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