Harrow School has become the first school in the country to undertake an ISO 45001 audit through the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), demonstrating its commitment to the health and safety of its pupils and staff.

Launched just last year, organisations are now starting to adopt the new voluntary standard to go beyond basic mandatory requirements and ensure that their workplaces are safer for everyone.

Harrow School recently undertook an audit against the standard – the first school to do so through RoSPA – meaning it is now leading the way on safety in the education sector.

Nathan Davies, RoSPA head of consultancy, said:

“It is so encouraging when organisations, and in particular educational institutions that have a responsibility for children and young people, take such an active and forward-thinking approach to the health and safety of their environment.

“The ISO 45001 standard isn’t a legal requirement, and so using it to benchmark and develop health and safety systems and processes displays a real dedication to looking after everyone that comes into contact with your organisation.”

Bryan Brown, health and safety manager at Harrow School, said:

“We aim to work beyond the Independent School Inspectorate (ISI) requirements and, in leading by example, to help raise compliance standards across the sector and support other independent schools tackling similar issues.

“ISO 45001 provides an excellent in-depth benchmark as it assesses health and safety culture and operations from top to bottom across the school, involving governors, senior management and staff members alike. Working with ISBA (Independent Schools’ Bursars Association), we are encouraging other schools to work with health and safety experts to undertake these beneficial audits, which provide an excellent lead-in to an ISI inspection. ISO 45001 establishes an ongoing health and safety culture and commitment within schools and also avoids the dangerous potential ‘switch off’ once ISI have left.”

RoSPA staff sat on the British Standards Institute working group which developed ISO 45001. The standard provides organisations around the world with requirements for a management system and framework which proactively improves employee safety, reduces workplace risks and creates better, safer working conditions, and it also fits closely with quality and environmental standards ISO 9000 and ISO 14001.

RoSPA offers auditing and support with implementing ISO 45001, and also provides a low-cost, online self-evaluation tool for smaller organisations or those exploring the standard.

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