The law and standards


The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places overall responsibility for health and safety with the employer.

The employer will vary according to the type of school:

  • Community schools, maintained schools, community special schools, voluntary-controlled schools, maintained Nursery schools and pupil referral units: for these schools, the employer is the Local Authority (LA)
  • Foundation schools, foundation special schools and voluntary-aided schools: for these, the employer is usually the governing body or the proprietor
  • Independent schools: for these, the employer is usually the governing body or the proprietor

Education employers have duties to ensure — so far as is reasonably practicable — the health, safety and welfare of teachers and their other education staff

Requirements and responsibilities


The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) enforces health and safety law relating to the activities of Local Authorities and schools.

Responsibilities — ALL schools

The employer must have a Health & Safety policy and the arrangements to implement it.

Risk Assessment

Health & Safety risk assessments must be undertaken for all activities and measures introduced to manage those risks (The Management Of Health & Safety At Work Regulations 1999).

Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992

These regulations, applicable to schools, require employers to ensure that the workplace and any equipment is maintained and in working order. It includes such areas as ventilation, working temperatures/thermal comfort, lighting, room dimensions and work-space and seating.

Control Of Noise At Work Regulations 2005

This requires employers to prevent or reduce risks to health and safety from exposure to noise at work. For more information, please visit the Schools & Colleges section of


While on the school's premises, teachers should ensure that they are aware of its policies and procedures including:

  • The evacuation procedure in the event of a fire, bomb scares or any other such major incidents
  • First aid provision
  • Accident reporting
  • Health and safety issues and the procedures for raising an issue