In an effort to reduce facility accidents, each state creates its own safety laws for schools. However, each state program is regulated by government organizations such as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In addition to following regulations, schools should be proactive and discuss safety plans for high-risk areas such as parking lots, school entrances, school kitchens, and elective course classrooms. Here are some recommendations to keep your students safe and maintain a healthy learning environment.
Parking Lot Safety
One of the most dangerous areas at schools is the parking lot. One study showed that 80 percent of teens cross streets unsafely, and unsafe pickup/dropoff behavior was observed in one in three drivers.
While educating students and parents about traffic safety is a top priority, schools can also invest in equipment that’s proven to reduce parking lot accidents. Adding speed bumps in the street reduces child injury by up to 60 percent.
Bollard posts are also useful to reduce crashes on pedestrian walkways. Whether you are attempting to stop vehicles from driving across campus grounds or cyclists cruising too fast, bollard posts can prevent these accidents.
School Entrances and Hallways
Another danger plaguing many schools is slippery floors and hallways that lead to slip and fall accidents. For private schools, parents and students can sue for injuries, and the result can be quite costly for the institution.
Fortunately, slip and fall accidents can easily be prevented by adding mats to doorways and hallways frequently exposed to water.
Mats are also proven to increase air quality. As debris and germs enter a building, mats effectively trap them before they become airborne in the facility. Therefore, mats may also be effective at preventing the spread of airborne diseases such as COVID-19.
School Kitchen Safety
The kitchen facilities in schools are also prone to a variety of accidents. Slip and fall accidents are among the leading kitchen-related accidents and can be easily avoided with proper matting. Proper matting is also proven to reduce employee back pain, which can lead to more serious issues that may also result in worker compensation claims.
Falling objects are also a safety concern in school kitchens. Knives, pots, pans, and poorly structured storage cabinets can fall on employees and result in severe trauma. Protect cafeteria employees by investing in strong, safe storage cabinets, and effective equipment protectors.
While most classes are low risk, others, such as art and gym, are more prone to accidents. Here’s how you can reduce your risk of accidents in each of these classes.
While there is always a risk with flammables and caustic chemicals, proper safety equipment can reduce risk. In many chemistry class accidents, injured personnel were not properly wearing personal protective equipment, such as goggles, gloves, masks, and gowns. Eyewash stations should also be on hand to wash any chemicals that come into contact with a student’s eyes.
Students in art class are also exposed to danger from falling objects such as poorly stored paint and finish cans. In addition, spilled paint and water provide a dangerous combination for slip and fall accidents. Floor mats should be utilized throughout the classroom’s walkways and around machines, such as kilns. Be sure that your mats and placements align with the National Floor Safety Institute’s guidelines.
As students progress, woodshop and mechanic shop classes offer students a unique opportunity to explore creative outlets. However, many of these classes also utilize machines like electric saws, sanders, and other high-risk tools. OSHA has a list of guidelines for woodworking tools that should be used as a reference. When not in use, these tools should be stored securely in durable cabinets. Students using these machines should always be equipped with proper protective gear such as gloves and coats.
Gym class is notorious for injuries, and most of them are the result of falling on hard ground. Fortunately, cushioned mats are a simple solution to soften falls and reduce impact. Select a mat that’s built for impact absorption, and resistant to wear and tear. Choosing one with a good grip will also reduce slip and fall accidents.
While school supervisors do their best to keep their students safe, accidents do happen, and it’s difficult to predict what kind of trouble a child will get into. Therefore, use these tips to make your facility safer and reduce risk and create a safe learning environment.