Health and Safety Matters: Eyesight, Reps, Chairs, Viruses and Training
Save Your Sight
The NUT has been campaigning for some time to ensure that interactive whiteboards and other data projectors are used safely. To remind people about the dangers that projectors can present we have produced stickers to attach to the edge of the board or to the wall by the side. Every school Health and Safety Representative should receive a pack of ten. We also have a few more in the union office if you need them. If you don't receive yours let me know.
For more information on IWB safety go to:
Health and Safety Reps
Missing out because your school doesn't have an H&S rep? Why not volunteer and get your school group to appoint you. The job doesn't have to take up any more time than you can afford and training is available. If you are appointed as H&S rep make sure that you let your Head Teacher know and tell us in the office.
Are You Sitting Comfortably?
Back pain is in the top ten of the most reported health complaints amongst teachers in the UK and musculoskeletal problems are the leading cause of ill-health retirement in Irish teachers.
There are many causes of back pain in modern life but the problem seems to be getting worse. Up to 50% of seventeen year olds have already suffered from some back pain. Stress, smoking, obesity, tiredness and dehydration are all factors that you might not expect, as well as the obvious ones like lifting heavy loads, bending, crouching and standing in the same position for too long.
It can be difficult to avoid these things as a teacher but whenever possible you should avoid all of the above. Try to move about a little when talking to a class, raising one foot onto a footstool or similar can help. Organise cupboards so that the heavy things aren't right at the bottom so they're easier to lift. Take proper breaks and drink plenty of water. Make sure that the computer screen that you use and your chair are properly adjusted. The screen should be 20 - 50 degrees below horizontal and you should sit so that your shoulders are directly over your hips, your back is straight and your knees are lower than your hips.
A special chair has been developed by a physiotherapist designed for use in classrooms see: www.jollyback.com for details.
Encourage your school to sign up to the local authorities musculoskeletal rehabilitation programme so that rapid treatment is available if you do have a problem.
Prevention is Better than Cure
We are informed that there are already many cases of influenza and the norovirus in Leicester, and the winter has a long way to go yet. It's important to try to minimise the risk of infection in any way possible. Make sure that you wash your hands frequently and encourage children to do the same. Ask your school to provide antiseptic hand wash. Surfaces must be kept clean (although it's not a teacher's job to clean them).
If a child is sneezing they should use disposable tissues and throw them safely in a bin. Finally, if you are ill, stay at home. You will not do your school any favours spreading the illness around and adding to the cover list when more people get infected!
H&S Reps Training
The next five day training courses for H&S reps will be held at Stoke Rochford Hall from Monday 21st March to Friday 25th March and Monday 4th July to Friday 8th July. School H&S reps, who have not previously attended a course, are entitled to attend and schools should provide cover. For further information see www.teachers.org.uk/node/11735 or contact: andyleicesternut.org.uk.