Teachers and students are not specifically mentioned under any Health and Safety regulations or E.U. legislation with regard to information and communications technology (ICT). However the regulations should be generally interpreted to include teachers who use computers in their work. Thus there are certain issues that those in education should be aware of to minimise risk and to promote the safe use of ICT.
The introduction of Interactive Whiteboards and ceiling mounted projectors in schools has resulted in the need for guidance on their use and maintenance.
The following documents have been produced by Newham's Health and Safety Department for your guidance:
- Health and safety guidance for the maintenance of interactive whiteboard computer projectors (SP110)
- Computer Projectors (IB130)
- Working at Heights - HSE initiative (SP073)
- Risk Assessment of the risk of injury to employees or others working from a height of 2 metres or more
Health and Safety legislation and IT
As a result of an EC Directive, UK regulations came into force directly to the use of display screen equipment, the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992. These regulations apply to:
"an employee who habitually uses display equipment as a significant part of their normal work". (This does not include LCD screens TVs.)
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require all electrical systems and equipment to be maintained in a safe condition.
Health and Safety and ICT in Schools
Although much of the legislation is more pertinent to administrative staff, teachers have the overall responsibility to make sure that ICT equipment is used correctly and safely. Where pupils are allowed to connect or unplug electrical equipment, this should only be after proper instruction and always under the supervision of a teacher.
Where equipment is positioned is very important. Workstation design should enable users to reach all necessary equipment without stretching and should be clear of obstruction. Please click on the link to find out more about specific considerations relating to Health and Safety and ICT in schools.