1 - Unions with coverage in the education sector some with OHS information on their websites:
- AEU, the Australian Education Union, has coverage of principals, teaching staff, teacher aides in mainly public schools, including early childhood, has an OHS Campaigns page on its site - it also has an information page for AEU members who are OHS reps.
- NTEU, the National Tertiary Education Union, has coverage of academic, research staff, and general staff of universities and Student Unions. In Victoria - also TAFE and Adult Education staff.
- IEUVICTAS, the Independent Education Union (Vic & Tas branch), has coverage of education workers in primary and secondary non-government schools and education workplaces. The union has an OHS section on its website with information for OHS reps, some hazards and also information on WorkCover
- CPSU/SPSF, Community & Public Sector Union (State Public Services Federation), has coverage of office, library and laboratory staff, has dedicated OHS Officers to assist members
- AMWU (Australian Manufacturing Workers Union) covers maintenance, metalwork, engineering and manufacturing workers, so the maintenance personnel on site could be AMWU members. The union has an OHS Campaigns page.
- United Voice, has coverage of catering and property service staff, staff in childcare centres, teacher aides. Go to the union's webpage for details on how to contact them for information.
2 - The Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) has information and guidance on its website. This includes:
- The Department's OHS Management System - which covers everything from Contractor management to managing hazards in Victorian Government Schools.
- The DET's Asbestos Management Plan - implemented following a number of incidents and an Enforceable Undertaking from WorkSafe. For all asbestos-related matters, contact The Asbestos, Reinstatement and Preventative Maintenance Call Centre (Cushman and Wakefield) on 1300 133 468 AND your union.
- The Occupational Health and Safety page for teaching - The Safe@Work program for students on work experience, including the Safe@Work User Guide
not a DET site, but useful is the Better Health Channel website for health topics
The department also has an OHS Advisory Service, which covers OHS and other matters.
Ground Floor, 2 Treasury Place; East Melbourne 3002
Telephone: 9637 2367, 9637 2441 or 1300 074 715 (Fax: 9637 2300)
3 - The consulting firm Marsh provides advice to the Department and assistance to principals, OHS Reps and others in schools. The company has set up an Advisory Service for schools: 1300 074 715. Email enquiries can be sent in at firstname.lastname@example.org
4 - WorkSafe Victoria has an Education Sector webpage where more information can be accessed, including:
- OHS in schools - A practical guide for school leaders - A 24-page handbook that details common safety issues for schools and provides simple and helpful suggestions on how to manage safety within a school setting. It is designed for people with management responsibility for workplace health and safety in schools, such as principals and assistant principals, and leadership team members responsible for budgets, facilities and purchasing
- Children's Services occupational health and safety compliance kit: How to control the risks from the most common hazardous tasks in the children's services sector
On Safety at School
From the European Agency for Safety and Health at work:
- Section on the Education sector - from where a number of resources can be accessed
- Free NAPO for teachers: educational resources on health and safety in 20 languages. NAPO is a cartoon character who appears in a series of videos.
Minimising the risk of violence and health hazards in education: new advice to help teachers and other staff in Europe's education sector: three factsheets (Nos. 45, 46, & 47 - all download as pdf documents) with clear and simple advice to alleviate risks such as abusive pupils and parents, musculoskeletal disorders induced by lifting children and other dangers. As well as English, Agency factsheets are can be downloaded in a number of European languages.
- From the Department of Health: Pesticide use in schools and school grounds [pdf document]
- US EPA advice on managing pests in schools - recommending 'Integrated Pest Management' - and providing a number of resources.
- WorkCoverBC (Canada) - has resources for the Education Sector.
On Work Experience
- A webpage on WorkSafe website - Young Workers
- WorkSafe Victoria: Training checklist for work experience and structured workplace learning students [pdf]
Safe Work Australia - Student Work Placement Guide.
- From the UK's Health and Safety Executive: Asbestos in Schools, which has a number of resources and publications.
- The AEU is very active in the area of asbestos and has resources on the union website.
- from UK Unions representing workers in education: guidance designed to remedy work-related mental health problems in the sector. The unions' guide aims to provide head teachers with valuable information, both on how to prevent the development of mental health conditions and on how to support staff who do fall ill:
On Wood dust and other dusts
Some wood dusts are carcinogenic:
- Monash University: Wood Dust Exposure.
- SafeWork NSW - Wood Dust - Health Hazards and Control: Fact Sheet
- HSE - Wood Dust
- OSHA (USA) - Wood dust
From the UK
From the Health and Safety Executive:
- Education Health and Safety website
- Education resources - on a range of different topics (in Higher and Further Education)
Slips and trips in education with information on reducing the risk of slips and trips.
School trips - a page on school trips aimed at anyone connected with educational visits, particularly those involving adventure activities.
From the UK teaching union, the NEU:
And on other issues:
- Hazards Magazine and website has an Occupational Voice Loss webpage - the November 2010 edition of the magazine contains a special report and the resources include the 'Work Hoarse' Guide, and a checklist for health and safety reps.
- On lifting children: Safe Lifting for Childcare workers [pdf] - a leaflet from the University of Texas
- From WorkCoverBC – a series of videos on Slips, Trips and Falls in Schools - the Canadian regulator says: "Falls at work only happen to other people – until they happen to us. Principals, teachers, and school staff are responsible for preventing slips, trips, and falls. This video series creates awareness and promotes discussion by demonstrating what can happen when we don't take responsibility for our own and each other's safety."
an interesting US website "Be Ready Utah" has a section Be Ready Schools which focuses on preparing students and schools for potential emergencies and disasters. This preparation includes the most essential elements including a plan and emergency supplies.
Last amended May 2020
Important Education Information