It is important to carry out regular electrical safety practices in schools, not only to protect the children but also the employees. Even though electrical accidents in schools are rare, they do happen. Electrical equipment is incorporated into lessons throughout all schools, which can be the root cause of electrical accidents.
There are laws in place which apply to schools in the same way as they do in other organisations such as The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
In order to comply with the health and safety laws it is up to local authorities, governing bodies, the school technician and schools management to implement strategies to ensure maximum electrical safety. If the school management fails to comply with the governing bodies instructions in terms of health and safety, the governing body can order repairs or maintenance which will then be taken off the school’s budget.
Risk assessments need to be carried out by the school’s management to follow the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 Act; however specialist bodies can provide detailed information on what schools need to include in their risk assessments.
It is advisable that teachers do not undertake any electrical maintenance as it needs to be carried out by a professional. General repairs can be carried out by the school’s technician such as testing electrical apparatus. It may sound obvious but all electrical circuits and installations should be carried out by an electrical professional.
Teachers and pupils must be fully informed of how to use electrical equipment properly such as in science laboratories. Apparatus which has been designed to be used in schools will follow electrical safety standards; however they need to be checked at least once a term, preferably every time you use it. Pupils need to be supervised by a teacher or technician when using equipment which could cause shocks or burns. However, pupils should be made aware of the potential hazards beforehand.
Electrical hazards can cause an array of accidents which in some cases can be extremely severe. Shocks, burns, fires and explosions can be caused due to electrical hazard preventions not being in place. An electric shock is caused when electric current passes through the body which can cause internal burns, brain injury, muscular contractions, respiratory failure, cardiac arrest and fibrillation of the heart.
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