7.3 Occupational Health & Safety

In this section: - What is occupational health and safety - How to ensure safety in schools - How to manage stress

Information on acts, rules and regulations on Health and Safety

Information on acts, rules and regulations on Occupational Health and Safety in school is available in:

Further Reading: The Importance of Occupational Health and Safety

The school hosts pupils and teachers, both of whom spend a large part of their day in the school environment. The school environment must be a healthy and safe place to be for all.

According to the Teaching Service Commission Act, the TSC is responsible for the wellbeing of teachers.

An important part of wellbeing is to ensure existing Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) regulations are appropriately adopted, health and safety measures are implemented in the work environment, and teachers take care of their own health and safety to enable them to thrive in their jobs and perform to a high standard.

Health and safety hazards in the school environment may include:

Lawmakers, those responsible for school construction and facilities, school inspectors, supervisors, education and school boards and committees, school leaders and the teachers all have a role to play in ensuring health and safety in schools for both teachers and pupils. It is a cross-cutting area between HR represented by the TSC and TSC-DOs and other professional disciplines, such as school supervision and quality assessment represented by the MBSSE and DEOs.

It is therefore important for school authorities at all levels to work together on OHS and have regular and clear systems in place for checks and monitoring. Besides the risk of personal costs of inadequate health and safety precautions, there are serious legal implications in case of accidents and work-related health issues. 

Who is responsible

Department of Teacher-Employer Relations, TSC:

The MBSSE:

Schools, school leaders, SMC/BoG and other local players:

Other institutions with responsibilities of Occupational Health & Safety include:

Best Practice: How to secure health and safety in schools

 

IT IS IMPORTANT TO APPLY the MBSSE’s standard procedures, manuals and checklists.

OHS from an HR perspective for school leaders who report to MBSSE/DEOs or TSC/TSC DOs if anything to report

Best Practice: How to prepare in case of an accident in school

Follow prevailing national and district manuals, regulations, guidance and manuals.

Best Practice: How to manage stress

There is an increased focus on work-related stress in HR in almost all occupations across the world. This also applies to teachers and school leaders who are under pressure from politicians and parents to ensure excellent and competitive results, who work under challenging circumstances, and whose responsibilities often go beyond teaching in the classroom.

In Sierra Leone, teachers face added challenges of overcrowding in the classroom; lack of facilities, materials and tools; and HR processes still under improvement.

There is a considerable literature on the subject of work-related stress and advice can also be found online. The teaching service may organise conferences, seminars and training on this topic which should be included in school leader training and mentoring programmes.

Sierra Leonean school leaders and others gave the following simple, general, good advice to manage stress:

Best Practice: How to report poor OHS