2018 is going to see the management of Health and Safety in schools require a significant focus. You don’t need to be a futurist to make this prediction, just consider the following:
- The New WHS legislation is planned to start in 2019. There’s one very important provision in this legislation that Principals and most likely Manager Corporate Services need to be ready for – Positive Due Diligence. Put simply, it means that members of Senior Management will have a personal onus placed on them to:
- ensure the schools safety risks are being managed to standards that WorkSafe would approve; and
- have governance processes in place to monitor health and safety performance.
This is a significant raising of the bar for safety management requirements, and in States where the new WHS legislation is already in place (all States except WA and Victoria) it’s resulted in substantial actions by schools. If your schools OSH management system currently has auditable gaps (or you don’t know if it does!) there’s cause for action. Being able to demonstrate due diligence in safety management is not something that can be rolled out overnight. Principals should be taking a personal interest that plans are underway to ensure this new requirement will be met.
To assist schools with getting ready for this major change, Franklyn Work Safety are now delivering Due Dilligence briefing sessions for School Senior Management. The session explains the due diligence obligations, and the processes and actions required of schools to meet them. The session is one hour in length. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire/book a session for your school. To access our Guide on Due Dilligence in schools – click here.
- WorkSafe have just announced that due to the ongoing high number of injuries to school cleaners, they will be undertaking an inspection program focussing on cleaning in schools until the end of the 2018 financial year. That means that WorkSafe inspectors may well turn up at your school and audit how your school manages cleaners/cleaning. For the WorkSafe statement on this inspection program – click here.
- The current Department of Education Strategic Plan has the strongest focus on health and safety that we’ve seen in over 10 years of providing services to the education sector. We anticipate the Department of Education will be doing whatever their resources enable to support schools, but will ultimately be looking to Principals and school administrations to increase their focus on safety and health management. For non-Government schools, we suspect you should expect increased focus on Health and Safety in the Registration process.