Whether you are planning a short trip to the local theatre or a longer residential trip with a whole year group your starting point for safety is the overall risk assessment. We are now running school specific risk assessment training on a regular basis, if you think you would benefit from this please get in touch with our office. The definition that we use on the course is:
‘A risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what in your work could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm.’
Clearly on an educational trip this can cover many types of hazard and you may be dealing with staff, pupils, parents and members of the public – here are some of our top tips to consider when preparing for trips.
- Think through all of the foreseeable hazards and consider their consequences in a comprehensive manner.
- Transport – Be sure to include transport to and from the venue and how this will impact safety. In particular, you should consider: distance, timing, route planning, insurances, alighting from buses in large groups and numbers of adults needed to observe the pupils.
- Food and drink is likely to be consumed during the trip, you need to consider what potential hazards may result eg. allergies, hot drinks etc. Make sure any venue providing food is aware of specific dietary requirements.
- Emergency Planning – ensure you have an emergency plan and all responsible adults on the trip are aware of it, in case there is an emergency during the trip.
- Venue Specifics – the venue will often have their own risk assessment, ensure that this is reviewed and added to your own for the trip, be a critical reader and if there are things that need clarification get in touch with the venue staff.
- Supervision – you need to consider the supervision ratios for the trip and ensure that competency and other skills like first aid are reviewed, eg. do you need a paediatric first aider?
- Communication – all responsible adults who will be supervising need to read and understand the risk assessment to ensure they know what the arrangements are.
- Review – for more involved trips get a health and safety professional to review your risk assessment.
With good preparation and careful planning you can ensure that the trip runs smoothly and the chances of an issue are minimised. If you need advice or help the ProFire team is available to provide this.