News updates for health and safety

Health and safety resources launched

We’ve launched these resources to support schools and early childhood education services meet their health and safety requirements.

The resources include several new health and safety guides and a new wellbeing webpage.

We would like to thank the Members of the Health and Safety Sector Reference Group who over the past 2 years have played a key role in our health and safety programme of work and development of these resources:

  • Association of Intermediate and Middle Schools (AIMS)
  • Association of Proprietors of Integrated Schools (APIS)
  • Auckland Primary Principal's Association (APPA)
  • Nga Kura a Iwi o Aotearoa (NKAI)
  • NZ Principals Federation (NZPF)
  • NZ School Trustees Association (NZSTA)
  • NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA)
  • Secondary Principals Association (SPANZ)
  • Te Runanga Nui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa
  • Education Review Office (ERO)
  • NZEI
  • Association of Intermediate and Middle Schools (AIMS)
  • Special Education Principals Association
  • Kingslea School
  • New Zealand Secondary School Principals Council

Keeping school pools open over summer

November 2016

School pools don’t have to close over summer. The intention of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 is not to curtail the use of school pools or to stop schools from keeping their pools open over summer.

Keeping a school pool open or available outside of core school hours is a decision for the board of trustees. A key point of the legislation is that health and safety is everybody’s responsibility and that the focus needs to be managing the risk and not the liability. Schools have a duty to all ‘others’ in the workplace and this includes people using school pools inside and outside of normal school hours. Any visitors to your workplace also have a duty to look after their own health and safety.

The key is being able to show that your school has taken all reasonable steps. Go to more information on swimming pools and health and safety.

Go to swimming pool in schools for information about managing and running a school pool.

Health and safety waivers

October 2016

We’ve updated EOTC sample form 15 Agreement between school and provider [DOC, 89 KB] to support schools that may have been asked to sign a liability waiver by a provider. Signing a liability waiver does not absolve a provider of their health and safety duties, including any liability in the event of an incident or near miss under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

The Act clearly states no organisation (including schools, camp providers, government agencies etc) can contract out of its legal responsibilities and asking for waivers which have an unclear purpose or the effect is not appropriate.

We expect all organisations that provide services to the education sector to be responsible and compliant with regard to their own obligations and to work collaboratively where these overlap or are shared. In short where there are overlapping responsibilities this means all groups need to work together – cooperate, coordinate and consult.

Science code of practice video

October 2016

In preparation for the soon to be released guidelines on the Code of Practice for Exempt School Laboratories, the New Zealand Association of Science Educators has produced a short film about the Code. View here. (external link) Please share this with your science departments.

Hazardous substances

October 2016

Schools, and particularly their science and physics departments are reminded that they must abide by the Code of Practice for Exempt School Laboratories and must not store or hold prohibited substances.

If a school has a banned substance they can contact their local Council for advice around removal and destruction.

Waiving of duties/obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015

September 2016 

The Auckland Primary Principals Association has approached the Ministry with concerns about their members being requested to sign waivers when contracting services.

The Health and Safety at Work Act clearly states no organisation (including schools, camp providers, government agencies etc) can contract out of its legal responsibilities, and asking for waivers which have an unclear purpose or effect is not appropriate.

The Ministry of Education expects all organisations which provide services to the education sector to be responsible and compliant with regard to their own obligations and to work collaboratively where these overlap or are shared. In short where there are overlapping responsibilities all groups need to work together – co-operate, co-ordinate and consult.

We continue to work with the Auckland Primary Principals Association and will update you further through the Bulletin.

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