The Importance of Complying With Health Standards for Schools
By Space Coast Daily // August 22, 2020
Health Standards are ways to bring a system together collaboratively, and schools are not an exemption to these standards. These standards set how schools should manage their staff’s health and safety and the students in general.
It involves identifying risks and mitigations that are associated with playground, school building facilities, and education outside the classroom.
Once the school administration defines these, it is important to disseminate the mitigation plans and protocols to all the school personnel and the parents. In this way, the students’ health and safety will not be at risk.
Compliance is the key metric to say that the standards are well defined and implemented. This is the school administration’s responsibility, and they are obliged to follow.
Here are the benefits of why compliance with health standards is important.
Protection for Staff and Student Community
Following health and safety guidelines is a protection for the employers, the staff, and the students from injuries, illnesses, or any harm and hazard that can happen in the school premises. Providing a safe learning environment is one crucial aspect that parents look into when they enroll their children in school.
They do not want to worry about their children in school while they are at work, so they see to it that staircases are safe, electrical outlets are properly installed, CCTVs are installed, food preparation is safe, and a security officer is employed.
Having these mitigations, the risk of having injuries like back pain, head injury, bone fracture, or sickness is prevented.
As mentioned earlier, providing safety guidelines will reduce the risk of injuries and illnesses. Therefore, a result of this will be minimal absenteeism from both employees and students.
As a result, the staff can do their tasks as scheduled based on their curriculum without missing a day or more. On the other hand, students will not miss any of their classes if they can attend their classes daily.
Working in a safe environment boosts employee morale and overall productivity. It promotes a stress-free and worry-free work environment for the employees giving them a positive outlook as they do their jobs diligently. Similarly, the students will also be able to finish their lessons and tasks because there was no interruption caused by an injury or an accident. The desired output from their students is met on time.
With few health or safety-related incidents, the school will have reduced costs on medical expenses. A full-proofed facility against unsafe conditions will also minimize costs on repairs and maintenance.
If the school is affiliated with an insurance company, having low costs on insurance is also another benefit. In general, the lesser the incidents are, the less the medical expenses will be.
If a school is certified with health and safety standards, the school establishment creates an improved culture making its image that is equipped with “health and safety” protocols. This organically attracts more applicants and most especially more customers to enroll their children in this school.
Health and Safety and compliance always go together. If there are rules then they should be followed. Which areas should be critical in school that need a risk assessment?
Here are tips on how a school should comply with this standard:
1. Identify areas where there is a risk. As an example check electrical as-built plans, there should be mitigation for incidents like short circuits or fire due to faulty wiring. Provide a fire protection system so just in case a fire happens, you are confident that your facility is ready.
2. Establish incident management and reporting. All incidents related to health and safety should be recorded and corrective actions are documented. This will serve as a one-point lesson when the same incident happens, it will be easy to check if everything is written.
3. Application of emergency response. Whenever incidents happen, there is a readily available solution to it. There should be trained staff who can do first-aid during emergencies within the school community.
4. Training and induction of employees. The health standards require trained personnel within the school community who will be the focal person whenever an incident happens. There are cases where teachers are requested by the company to join HIPAA training or the OSHA instead of hiring a third-party auditor to certify themselves because this is also one requirement in the health standard. For some schools, they have a clinic and the first person they will inform is a school nurse or the doctor. They are the primary officers to implement health management for students.
5. Continuously involve everyone in the school community to participate in health and safety improvement. There are activities defined to promote awareness in students about health and safety. The inclusion of physical education and health is a good venue for the teachers to teach about risk assessments, health and hygiene routines, and disaster management.
The most important thing to remember is, all the plans and all the risks should be practical. All the goals should be short, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
If these criteria are met, it will not be difficult to let everyone enjoy their work and learning while they are in school.
To summarize everything, the importance of compliance is not just to declare that the school has its safety standards as required by the law but to promote health and wellness among its employees and students.
A comprehensive health and safety protocol should enhance health to develop their potential and establish a productive relationship with existing and future customers.
To execute this, the school can work hand in hand with the families of their staff and the students in the planning process. Continuous staff training and developments are important to address specific health-related issues. The development of protocols should focus on the health and safety of students, staff, and families.
The school should always have the updated goals and objectives of the health and safety management system. Lastly, compliance is the responsibility of everyone, it is the school administrator’s role to let them all follow the rules and standards.
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