Leeds school’s health and safety failings exposed

A CATALOGUE of failings including out-of-date asbestos surveys and an inadequate fire risk assessment were found during a health and safety audit at a Leeds school.

The independent audit of Benton Park School in Rawdon, which caters for more than 1,300 children, found that the school’s fire risk assessment “would not be considered suitable and sufficient.”

The audit, carried out in June and led by health and safety consultant William Cunningham, revealed asbestos surveys at the school were out of date and stated that health screening and monitoring could be considered for site staff and potentially design and technology staff “due to the nature of their work with dusts and the amount of asbestos around the site.” The report adds: “Asbestos awareness training should be provided for all staff that may work in areas where asbestos could be.”

Benton Park School co-headteachers Steve Dixon and Delia Martin, said: “The health, safety and wellbeing of our students and staff is a top priority for our school.

“We have an ageing building that requires significant upkeep, and we work hard to ensure that whenever and wherever health and safety issues arise, they are dealt with quickly and effectively. The school itself commissioned the report in question in order to help us refine and further develop our health and safety practices. The school, in recognition of the importance of health and safety employed a safety and facilities manager’ in September 2014. We have recently increased the scope and significance of this role and appointed a new safety and facilities manager who will sit on the school’s extended leadership team. Staff have also undertaken health and safety training appropriate to their responsibilities in school.”