It is unusual to see a fall from height not linked to construction or maintenance activity, however, a recent case described a teaching assistant falling through the floor of a loft space and breaking their back whilst looking for a spare desk.
As health and safety advisors, we are not the ‘keep it tidy police’, however bad storage and poor housekeeping are so often associated with increased incidents, either through slips and trips, falling items, and in this case storage in an unsafe area.
Whilst out of sight from pupils and parents, storage areas need to be just as safe as corridors and classrooms for those who need to access them. Control measures such as fully boarding loft spaces are simple and inexpensive.
Areas to check on:
- Are your storage areas safe, accessible, and fit for purpose? – consider safe access, manual handling, and whether the storage facility itself is fit for purpose;
- Do you restrict access to high-risk areas? – your site team will most likely have the most suitable training and knowledge;
- Does storage increase fire risk? – think combustible load, proximity to heat sources, and obstructing safe egress; and
- If space is an issue, consider whether things really need to be kept on-site at all.
You can find more more information on how we support independent schools here.