If your employees are moving or transporting pupils or objects then, under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, you have a legal obligation to make sure they are safely trained to do so.
The welfare of employees and pupils and your school’s reputation and finances are in the balance, so it is essential that you own your responsibilities and ensure everyone is following best practices at all times.
EPM customers can access support from Citation, our sister company, and benefit from:
Safe management of manual handling prevents workplace injuries and protects your school’s reputation and finances. Improper manual handling can result in two types of injuries – musculoskeletal (such as upper limb disorders and back pain) and acute traumas (cuts, bruises, fractures or sprains, for example).
In addition, if an employee injures themselves because you have not managed manual handling sufficiently, you could find yourself facing a manual handling compensation claim, as well as having to organise and payout for employee cover if they need time off work.
Moving and handling is performed when pupils with a disability need specialist support to carry out various everyday activities. Some common examples in school settings include going to the toilet, moving around the building, using school transport, participating in playground activities, and leaving the building in the event of an emergency.
It is paramount that your employees who are involved with moving and handling are competent and capable (i.e. do not have any medical conditions that could compromise their moving and handling ability) of doing so, are sufficiently trained, and have support from fellow, trained and competent employees if they need it.
The following activities are typically deemed as higher risk: transferring pupils from a chair to a wheelchair; moving equipment or furniture; leaning over desks or tables; pushing and pulling wheelchairs and other mobility aids; and helping pupils move in the event of an emergency, to name just a few.
When moving and handling pupils, employees should consider factors like their ability to communicate, their own weight and ability to bear weight, how well the pupil can take on board and follow instructions, and any physical conditions they may have, such as impaired eyesight, difficulty hearing, and variable muscle tone.