Dáil Éireann - Volume 656 - 05 June, 2008

Written Answers. - Health and Safety Regulations.

Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Education and Science the steps taken to advise the boards of management and principals of primary schools on the procedures that they must undertake to ensure the schools' full compliance with the statutory health and safety requirements in the workplace; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22329/08]

  Deputy Batt O’Keeffe: In general, individual school authorities are responsible, in the first instance, under Safety, Health and Welfare at Work legislation for ensuring the safety and welfare of children and others in their care. It is the responsibility of individual school management authorities to have a safety statement in place in their schools. The Statement should identify potential hazards, assess the risks to health and safety and put appropriate provision in place to safeguard the safety and health of employees and pupils. The Safety Statement should be reviewed on a regular basis. In practical terms, individual school authorities are best placed to assess the detail of their own health and safety requirements.

In December 2007, (in conjunction with the changeover of primary school boards of management), all new boards were issued with an Information Manual which provides advice on matters relating to the governance of schools, including the obligations on boards of management in the context of Health and Safety Legislation. A copy of this Information Manual is available on my Department’s website at www.education.ie.

With regard to school building works, school managements are advised that renovation and improvement work of any kind, whether of a minor or major nature, must be undertaken in accordance with all relevant Health, Welfare and Safety at Work Regulations. Contractors appointed to carry out work in a school must be made aware of and requested to review the school’s safety file to establish the position relating to any health and safety issues.